To understand B.C.’s push for the Coastal GasLink pipeline, think fracking, LNG Canada and the Site C dam

The pipeline at the centre of the Wet’suwet’en conflict is also central to the province’s long-running effort to attract multinational corporations and build up a liquefied natural gas export empire — all with infusions of public money. Here’s what you need to know

Cabin gas plant B.C.

If you had mentioned the Coastal GasLink project two months ago at a dinner party you likely would have been met with blank stares and a quick segue to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s Vancouver Island hidey-hole.

Since early February, when the RCMP arrested Wet’suwet’en matriarchs, hereditary chiefs and their supporters — setting off nation-wide blockades of rail lines and ports and igniting a national debate about Indigenous rights and title, large resource projects and the global climate emergency — Coastal GasLink has risen from obscurity to infamy.

Most reports describe the project as “a natural gas pipeline.” But the reality is far more complex.

The Narwhal zooms out to focus on the bigger picture, which includes two other industrial projects in the works, one foreign-funded (LNG Canada) and the other publicly funded (the Site C dam).

Spoiler alert: the big picture includes billions in subsidies for industry, tens of thousands of idle and orphan fracking wells, a multi-billion dollar clean-up bill and massive climate impacts.

What is the Coastal GasLink pipeline?

 The Coastal GasLink pipeline will carry fracked gas from gas plays on B.C.’s northeast to Kitimat on B.C.’s northwest for export to Asian markets.

The pipeline is owned by TC Energy Corporation, a Calgary-based company more commonly recognized by its former name TransCanada and for another fiercely opposed pipeline project, the Keystone XL.

TC Energy has partnered with some of the world’s most profitable oil and gas corporations to build the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline, which will cut through old-growth forests, wetlands, rivers, streams and habitat for critically endangered species such as southern mountain caribou.

Want to know how much money TC Energy president and CEO Russell Girling makes? Girling made $11.4 million in 2018, according to company documents.

Coastal GasLink Pipeline Map

Map of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Map: Carol Linnitt / The Narwhal

What does the Coastal GasLink pipeline have to do with the LNG Canada project?

The short answer: one would not exist without the other.

The longer answer?

LNG Canada project will take fracked gas from the Coastal GasLink pipeline and cool it in massive compressors — at a new Kitimat facility — to minus 162 degrees Celsius, the point at which gas turns into liquid. The liquefied gas will then be transported to Asia in ocean tankers as long as six football fields.

Natural gas prices recently fell to their lowest level in four years, due to a persistent glut. The United States, traditionally the main user of Canadian gas, is poised to become self-sufficient in the fuel due to new extraction technologies.

Cue the multinationals and the dream of LNG.

Demand for LNG has been growing, particularly in Asia, and B.C. wants in. (Although demand has recently stalled due to milder winters and the novel coronavirus outbreak, threatening to make LNG plants around the world unprofitable.)

LNG Canada is a joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell, Petronas, PetroChina, Mitsubishi and Korean Gas.

Royal Dutch Shell, the globe’s fourth largest oil and gas company, is a public British-Dutch owned corporation headquartered in the Netherlands. It owns 40 per cent of LNG Canada.

A second partner, Petronas, is owned by the Malaysian government and has a 25 per cent share in the project.

The Chinese government-owned PetroChina Company Ltd., the world’s third-largest oil and gas company, owns 15 per cent, as does Japanese multinational Mitsubishi.

Korean Gas Corp., which completes the multinational quintet, is owned by the South Korean government and is the world’s largest importer of liquefied natural gas (LNG). It has a five per cent share.

LNG Canada project, Kitimat B.C. 2017

The site of the LNG Canada project in Kitimat in 2017. Photo: Garth Lenz / The Narwhal

Government press materials tout LNG Canada as a $40 billion project, calling it “the largest private-sector investment in B.C.’s history.”

But LNG Canada estimates a $25 to $40 billion investment for a two-phase project. Only phase one of the project has received approval.

For phase one, LNG Canada has only committed to spending between $2.5 and $4.1 billion in B.C. and acknowledges that between $7 and $11.1 billion for phase one will be spent on foreign soil. This includes the cost of construction of the export facility, which will be manufactured abroad and shipped in pieces to Kitimat.

LNG Canada will be one of the country’s largest greenhouse gas emitters

If you followed the recent debate about Teck Resources’ Frontier oilsands mine, noted for its environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions, hold onto your hat.

LNG Canada will be one of the country’s largest greenhouse gas emitters — and that’s before fugitive methane emissions from fracking are factored into the carbon equation.

According to the B.C. government, the LNG Canada project will emit four megatonnes of carbon emissions each year during its first phase — the equivalent of adding 856,531 cars to the road.

Teck’s Frontier oilsands mine would have emitted 4.1 megatonnes of greenhouse gases a year, putting the two projects almost on par with each other for carbon pollution during LNG Canada’s first phase.

If the project’s second phase goes ahead, LNG Canada will emit more than double the carbon of the cancelled Frontier oilsands mine project — 8.6 megatonnes per year in 2030, rising to 9.6 megatonnes in 2050.

That’s roughly the equivalent of putting 1.7 million new cars on the road each year.

The B.C. government’s emissions estimate includes only the first phase of the project.

Emissions from both LNG Canada project phases would represent close to three-quarters of B.C.’s legislated target for greenhouse gas emissions in 2050, set at about 13 megatonnes a year.

Isn’t natural gas a clean, environmentally friendly fuel?

Industry has successfully marketed gas as ‘natural’ because, like other fossil fuels, it comes from the earth. The term “natural gas” is now widely used.

The majority of gas shipped through the Coastal GasLink pipeline will come from northeast B.C., where the predominant form of extraction is a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. B.C. is the fastest-growing natural gas producer in Canada, thanks in large part to the advent of fracking.

Fracking is a technique that involves blasting a mixture of water, chemicals and sand deep into the earth to break apart rock formations and release previously inaccessible oil or natural gas deposits.

Fracking uses vast amounts of fresh water. Recent frack jobs in northeast B.C. have used more than 22 million litres of water per well — enough to fill about nine Olympic-sized swimming pools. The water becomes contaminated after the fracking process and must be disposed of in tailings ponds or by being injected deep underground.

The industry’s pressing need for fresh water has resulted in the construction of at least 90 unlicensed dams in northeast B.C.

Fracking releases significant carbon emissions through fugitive leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. New research published in the journal Nature suggests natural gas is a much dirtier fossil fuel than previously thought, with emissions that put it on par with coal.

There is also increasing evidence of human health issues linked to fracking. One study found mothers who live close to a fracking well are more likely to give birth to a less healthy child with a low birth weight.

Human health issues related to fracking were recently flagged by Dawson Creek doctors as a potential cause for concern after they saw patients with symptoms they could not explain, including nosebleeds, respiratory illnesses and rare cancers, as well as a surprising number of glioblastomas, a malignant brain cancer.

An independent scientific review commissioned by the B.C. government found that fracking entails numerous unknown risks to human health and the environment.

The review did not include a thorough examination of the public health implications of fracking, in keeping with the government’s quiet assurance to the industry lobby group Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers that the hot button issue would not be part of the panel’s mandate.

Even before a fracking boom gets underway for the LNG Canada project, there are more than 11,000 inactive fracking wells in B.C. that need to be decommissioned and the land restored to its previous condition.

In an audit last year, B.C.’s former Auditor General Carol Bellringer found the oil and gas commission had not secured enough money from companies to cover an estimated $3 billion in cleanup costs.

Bankrupt fracking companies have also left the commission — and, ultimately, taxpayers — responsible for cleaning up a burgeoning number of orphan wells, including contaminated sites and wastewater pits.

The number of orphan wells is poised to double to between 646 and 746 this year, after a 769 per cent increase over the past four years. Last year, the commission reclaimed just four orphan well sites. It plans to reclaim 15 sites this year, leading many to wonder if the province will ever catch up.

What does this all have to do with the Site C dam, anyway?

The publicly funded Site C dam, currently under construction on B.C.’s Peace River, will provide subsidized electricity for the LNG Canada project.

The Site C dam was rejected in the 1980s and 1990s — the first time by the watchdog B.C. Utilities Commission after two years of hearings, and the second by BC Hydro’s own board of directors, who said the project was too costly and its environmental and social impacts were too great.

B.C.’s former Liberal government approved the project in 2014 after changing the law to strip the utilities commission of its responsibility to determine if the project was in the public interest.

The dam will flood 128 kilometres of the Peace River and its tributaries, putting an area the equivalent distance of driving from Vancouver to Whistler under water up to 50 metres deep.

Site C construction. Peace River. B.C.

Site C dam construction on the Peace River. Photo: Garth Lenz / The Narwhal

B.C.’s NDP government had an opportunity to cancel the project after it came to power in 2017 but chose to continue construction, approving another $2 billion for the dam’s escalating tab, which now stands at $10.7 billion.

The Site C dam will flood traditional Treaty 8 territory, including First Nations burial grounds, trapping and hunting grounds and cultural and spiritual sites. It will eradicate some of Canada’s richest farmland, inundate protected heritage and archeological sites, destroy habitat for more than 100 species vulnerable to extinction and flood 800 hectares of carbon-storing wetlands.

You can read all about the project and its impacts on the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (formerly the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) website. Be warned: it’s about 15,000 pages.

A UBC study found the Site C project will have more significant adverse environmental effects than any project ever examined in the history of Canada’s environmental assessment act, including oilsands projects, mining projects and the Northern Gateway project, which was cancelled by the Trudeau government on the grounds that impacts on First Nations and the environment were unacceptable.

The global human rights group Amnesty International says the Site C dam project violates human rights and does not meet international standards for forced evictions. Two Treaty 8 First Nations have filed civil claims alleging that the Site C dam and two previous dams on the Peace River constitute an unjustifiable infringement of their treaty rights.

Lawyers warn that a settlement in favour of the nations could add $1 billion to the Site C dam price tag.

How did governments push to advance the LNG Canada project?

To attract the corporations behind LNG Canada, B.C.’s NDP government offered a smorgasbord of direct subsidies worth an initial $5.35 billion, in the form of tax reprieves, tax exemptions and discounted electricity rates.

Without government handouts the LNG Canada project, set to begin operation by 2025, would not be economical for the companies involved.

The B.C. government justified the subsidies on the grounds that LNG Canada will provide 10,000 construction jobs (that’s including construction jobs on the Coastal GasLink pipeline) and $24 billion in provincial revenue over the next 40 years.

The list of subsidies is long but it’s your money so you might want to know how it’s spent. Grab some popcorn and settle in. Ready? Here we go.

While British Columbians have to pay provincial sales taxes on, for example, an electric car, LNG Canada’s PST exemption means the company will not have to pay this tax during its construction period. That gives the consortium what is essentially an interest-free loan for two decades, for an annual savings of about $19 million to $21 million, according to economist Marc Lee, who has called the LNG Canada project a “carbon bomb.”

The NDP government has also eliminated the LNG income tax (a tax the B.C. NDP supported while in opposition), while a natural gas tax credit gives LNG Canada an additional three per cent corporate income tax cut.

While touting its Clean BC plan, the provincial government has at the same time exempted LNG Canada from increases in the B.C. carbon tax above $30 per tonne.

The consortium will get a rebate that economist Lee pegs at about $62 million a year (once the carbon tax, now at $40 per tonne, rises to $50 per tonne next year).

And, even as BC Hydro customers face rate hikes totalling eight per cent from 2019 to 2024, the publicly funded Site C dam will provide subsidized electricity for LNG Canada.

According to Lee, the new power supplied from Site C will cost about double what LNG Canada will pay for it — amounting to a subsidy valued at between $32 million and $59 million per year. That leaves ratepayers to make up the difference.

“The LNG Canada agreement locks in these tax and subsidy provisions for 20 years against future changes by governments that might be concerned about, say, climate change,” Lee notes in the Georgia Straight. “A decade from now — amid growing climate chaos — a newly elected B.C. premier would have their hands tied by having to pay financial compensation for any changes to the four measures that affect LNG Canada’s bottom line.”

Provincial ratepayers and federal taxpayers will also foot the bill for new transmission lines for the LNG Canada project.

Through its “Investing in Canada Infrastructure Plan,” the federal government will contribute $83.6 million to the cost of building a new transmission line to supply B.C.’s natural gas industry with power from the Site C dam. BC Hydro, a publicly owned utility, will provide $205.4 million. If you’re a BC Hydro customer, that’s your money.

In August 2019, the B.C. and federal governments also announced a $680 million fund to support the further electrification of LNG in B.C. Details about what each level of government will pay, and when spending will occur, have not yet been announced.

Additionally, the federal government has granted a $1 billion tariff exemption for the importation of steel modules for the LNG Canada and Woodfibre LNG projects.

The B.C. government also provides LNG Canada with indirect subsidies. B.C.’s royalty regime offers the gas industry a range of credits that substantially reduce the actual royalties paid. Royalties are what companies pay to governments for developing a publicly owned resource.

The B.C. budget released last month shows that natural gas royalties would have been $534 million this year. But after royalty credits are deducted the number drops to $153 million — a far cry, Lee points out, from gas royalties in the $1 billion to $2 billion range the province collected in the early 2000s.

Deep well credits are yet another form of subsidy for the gas industry, with the B.C. government providing $1.2 billion to fracking companies over a recent two-year period.

Canada provides more government support for oil and gas companies than any other G7 nation and is among the least transparent about fossil fuel subsidies, according to a report from a coalition of NGOs.

But won’t the Site C dam produce clean energy?

Large hydro dams are a hugely expensive and destructive way to generate renewable energy. They are not “green,” or environmentally friendly.

The Site C dam and its reservoir will eliminate ancient wetlands called tufa seeps, old-growth boreal forests and a living laboratory for scientists to study how species adapt to climate change. It will also poison bull trout, a species vulnerable to extinction, and other fish with methylmercury.

The Peace River Valley, which would be inundated by the dam, is a flyway for migratory birds and part of the boreal bird nursery. It hosts three-quarters of all B.C.’s bird species. As many as 30,000 songbirds and woodpeckers nest in the dam’s future flood zone, which stretches the equivalent distance of driving from Vancouver to Whistler when flooded Peace River tributaries are included.

One study by U.S. scientists shows hydro reservoirs produce considerably more carbon emissions than previously thought. About 80 per cent of the emissions are in the form of methane, a greenhouse gas 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

A UBC-led report debunked the unsubstantiated claim by the B.C. and federal governments that the Site C dam’s ecological impacts are justified on the grounds that the project will deliver electricity with lower greenhouse gas emissions than other sources.

The report also found that alternatives to the Site C project would create significantly more jobs, produce electricity at a lower cost with fewer risks and have a significantly lower environmental impact.

What’s next?

After three days and nights of negotiations between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the federal and provincial governments, a tentative agreement on land rights and title was reached on March 1. Details of the agreement, which will be shown to all Wet’suwet’en members, have not been released.

Horgan recently said he has no intention of altering the province’s position on the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

“I firmly believe, after many decades involved in public policymaking and observing events, that we are absolutely on the right course,” the Premier said, “and I’m going to carry on.” SOURCE

 

The draft deal between the Wet’suwet’en and the government explained

RCMP officers raid Unist’ot’en Camp in Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia on Feb. 10, 2020. Photo from Unist’ot’en Camp on Twitter

Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation struck a proposed deal with British Columbia and federal officials over the weekend in a land title dispute that inspired nationwide rail blockades.

But the tentative agreement, announced Sunday after three days of talks between the hereditary chiefs and officials from the federal and provincial governments, doesn’t address the pipeline at the centre of the controversy. That means the Wet’suwet’en solidarity blockades are unlikely to stop, for now.

“We’re not standing down, and we’re not asking anybody else to stand down either,” said Molly Wickham, also known as Sleydo, a spokesperson for Gidimt’en, a Wet’suwet’en clan.

Several Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are fighting to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a planned natural gas project that’s slated to run through the nation’s unceded traditional territory in northern B.C. The solidarity blockades were sparked last month after the RCMP raided Wet’suwet’en camps to clear pipeline opponents out of the project’s path.

Here’s what you need to know about the draft agreement, and how it impacts Coastal GasLink and the Wet’suwet’en solidarity blockades.

The tentative deal, explained

Graphic by Elias Campbell at Soulfood Productions ​​​​​​

 

The proposed agreement does not address Coastal GasLink directly, focusing instead on the deeper issue of Wet’suwet’en governance and the nation’s right to its traditional territory. The draft agreement essentially sets ground rules for more discussions over what to do about the controversial pipeline.

A 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision, Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, has previously affirmed that the Wet’suwet’en have the right to their land. But the court didn’t resolve several key questions, leaving the nation to either negotiate with the B.C. government or go back for a costly second trial, neither of which happened.

Now, 23 years later, the proposed arrangement attempts to pick up where the Delgamuukw decision left off.

The hereditary chiefs, federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and her provincial counterpart Scott Fraser announced the broad intent of the draft deal Sunday, but didn’t divulge details. Before the proposed agreement is shared publicly, the nation will review it in the feast hall ⁠— where Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders typically make major decisions ⁠— in accordance with Anuk nu’at’en, or Wet’suwet’en law, in the next few weeks.

On Sunday, Hereditary Chief Woos said the proposed agreement is a milestone, but the “degree of satisfaction is not what we expected.”

The tentative agreement doesn’t address the Coastal GasLink pipeline directly, nor does it mean Wet’suwet’en solidarity blockades will end anytime soon.

Traditionally, the Wet’suwet’en Nation is governed by hereditary chiefs from five clans and 13 family subgroups. The hereditary chiefs of each clan have jurisdiction over that clan’s territory.

Canada’s colonial Indian Act also created elected band councils with jurisdiction over reserve lands. Some elected councils have supported the project, though the reserve lands aren’t adjacent to the pipeline.

What does this mean for Coastal GasLink?

Coastal GasLink@CoastalGasLink

Coastal GasLink Statement on the Conclusion of Discussions Between Hereditary Chiefs and Government…

Following the conclusion of discussions between the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and representatives of the federal and provincial governments, Coastal GasLink President David Pfeiffer has issued…

coastalgaslink.com

British Columbia Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser has said the agreement wouldn’t be retroactive, meaning it wouldn’t affect the government’s previous approval of the pipeline.

Meanwhile, the hereditary chiefs who oppose Coastal GasLink have said they are unwilling to allow the pipeline to proceed.

It isn’t clear when pipeline construction could begin. Last month, B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) rejected a key report from Coastal GasLink Ltd., a subsidiary of TC Energy (formerly known as TransCanada), which will construct and operate the Coastal GasLink pipeline. The report must be approved before the company can begin building an 18-kilometre portion of the pipeline in Wet’suwet’en territory, near the Morice River (also known as Wedzin Kwah). The company now has 30 days to go back and do more consultation with the Wet’suwet’en.

Aside from area affected by the EAO’s rejection of the report, Coastal GasLink’s backers are free to do construction work on Wet’suwet’en territory. In the area where it’s not allowed to do construction work, the company can still complete other do pre-construction tasks like surveying, the B.C. Ministry of Environment confirmed to National Observer Monday.

Last week, work stopped on Wet’suwet’en territory to allow for talks between the Wet’suwet’en and the Canadian governments.

After the tentative deal was announced, the company said it would resume “construction activities” Monday. The company didn’t specify what that entailled, and didn’t immediately respond to a request for clarification from National Observer Monday.

Why aren’t the blockades coming down?

The blockades have led to outcry from several industries that have struggled to move goods, upping pressure on political leaders to resolve the situation.

More Indigenous-led demonstrations have sprung up even as authorities attempt to shut them down with arrests and court injunctions. The pipeline opponents organizing the blockades have said they won’t stop until the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ demands are met.

That hasn’t worked out so far. The chiefs have asked for Coastal GasLink to be halted ⁠— something the B.C. government has said it’s unwilling to do.

They’ve also asked the RCMP to leave Wet’suwet’en territory. The Mounties temporarily stopped patrolling the area to allow for talks between the chiefs and the Canadian governments, but it’s not clear whether officers will return now that initial discussions have ended.

Two of the most prominent blockades, Mohawk-led demonstrations in Belleville, Ont., and Kahnawake, Que., remain in place. A separate one outside of Montreal temporarily blocked VIA Rail service Monday.

Racist backlash has erupted against Indigenous pipeline opponents

Wet’suwet’en

Gidimt’en Checkpoint@Gidimten

Dini’ze Woos: The Hereditary Chiefs are opposed to any pipeline going through their territory (1/3)

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Gidimt’en Checkpoint@Gidimten

Tsake’za Sleydo’: We’re not resting, we’re not giving up, we’re not standing down, we’re not asking other people to stand down. (2/3)

Embedded video

Last week, a bomb threat was reported against the Mohawks of Tyendinaga, who have organized the rail blockade near Belleville. A similar threat was made against Unist’ot’en, a Wet’suwet’en house group.

Some threats have included calls for vigilante violence against protestors, the online media outlet Ricochet reported.

What happens next?

Gidimt’en Checkpoint@Gidimten

Dini’ze Woos: The Hereditary Chiefs are opposed to any pipeline going through their territory (1/3)

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If the clans approve, federal and provincial officials will return to sign the deal. If not, it’s unclear what will happen.

More discussions will be required either way to sort out what to do about Coastal GasLink.

For now, pipeline opponents have planned solidarity actions in various cities through the first week of March. SOURCE

Nipissing First Nation blasts ‘mainstream media’ over Wet’suwet’en coverage

Nipissing First Nation chief and council is signalling its support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the construction of a natural gas pipeline through their traditional territory in British Columbia. Michael Lee/The Nugget

Nipissing First Nation chief and council are slamming the “mainstream media” for misrepresenting Indigenous nations and voices in the ongoing dispute over a natural gas pipeline in British Columbia opposed by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

In a statement posted on the Nipissing First Nation website Thursday, chief and council say “it can be difficult to distinguish facts from rhetoric and truth from hidden agendas” in light of the “barrage of information” from social media and the misrepresentation from mainstream media.

They also point to the 1997 Supreme Court of Canada ruling which said the Wet’suwet’en people, as represented by their hereditary leaders, had not given up rights and title to their 22,000-square-kilometre territory.

“Nipissing First Nation stands in solidarity with the people of Wet’suwet’en who are protecting their traditional territory from infringement. We must show support not only for the rights of the Wet’suwet’en people, but also to affirm our own rights to govern and protect our lands,” the statement says.

The show of support from Nipissing First Nation comes as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs were set to meet for a second day with senior federal and provincial ministers Friday to discuss the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in B.C.

Demonstrations and rail disruptions have escalated in recent weeks following the arrests earlier this month of hereditary chiefs and their supporters after the RCMP enforced a court injunction, granted to Coastal GasLink, that called for the removal of any obstructions from roads, bridges or work sites the company has been authorized to use in Wet’suwet’en territory.

Two rallies have since taken place in North Bay in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Coastal GasLink also has agreed to a two-day pause in its activities in northwestern B.C. and the RCMP has committed to ending patrols along a critical roadway while the negotiations unfold.

Nipissing First Nation chief and council, meanwhile, say Canada is breaking its own rule of law and has yet to ratify the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

They add that the support shown across the country, and even globally, is evidence that many people who have taken the time to inform themselves understand the injustices Indigenous people face.

“Nipissing First Nation’s leadership supports our Wet’suwet’en family’s sovereign right to self-determination, including the right to govern and protect their lands. They need the time and space to move forward with a unified voice in whatever direction they choose to take,” they said.

“What we’ve seen from mainstream media and Canada’s leadership is alarming and distressing. It’s an example of reconciliation at its worst, and colonization at its best. This is not just about pipelines. Indigenous people deserve better.”

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare, meanwhile, is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to meet with the hereditary chiefs and come to a “peaceful and respectful resolve” together.

In a statement, Hare said the events unfolding harken back to September 1995 when protesters occupied Ipperwash Park and unarmed protester Anthony “Dudley” George was killed by an Ontario Provincial Police sniper.

He also highlighted other longstanding issues — 25-year boil water advisories in Ontario and Canada’s decision to challenge the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal compensation ruling for First Nations children, youth and families — calling them not just First Nations issues, but human rights issues.

“We understand that some of our citizens are participating in protests and we hold the health and safety of First Nation citizens in the highest regard,” he said. “We urge citizens not to engage or dialogue with those making racist comments or who are exhibiting harassing behaviour.” SOURCE

Canada does not deserve seat at UN Security Council: Opinion

UN Security Council

A gate on the Morice River Forest Service Rd is dismantled during RCMP operations. Photo: Unist’ot’en Village/Twitter.

Pam Palmater
Special to APTN NewsReconciliation is dead. It died when the RCMP invaded Wet’suwet’en territory with heavy machinery, helicopters, weapons and police dogs to forcibly remove Wet’suwet’en peoples and supporters from their homes on their own lands.In quite literal terms, the RCMP destroyed the “reconciliation” sign posted on the access point to the territory, to make way for pipeline workers to force a pipeline on Wet’suwet’en Yintah (lands) without consent from hereditary chiefs.While they were at it, Coastal Gaslink pipeline workers removed the red dresses memorializing the thousands of Indigenous women and girls who have been abused, exploited, disappeared and murdered – some at the hands of those who work in man camps.

In reaction to this violation of Indigenous land rights and the aggressive invasion of Wet’suwet’en lands by the RCMP, grassroots Indigenous peoples and Canadian allies have engaged in protests, rallies, marches and blockades all over Turtle Island.

UN Security Council

300 people blocked the intersection at Cambie and Hastings in Vancouver in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. Photo: Simon Charland/APTN

Meanwhile, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not even in Canada. He is travelling the world campaigning for a seat on the United Nations (UN) Security Council.

Canada is a state perpetrator of genocide against Indigenous women and girls. The national inquiry found that all levels of government – federal, provincial, territorial and municipal – have engaged in historic and ongoing genocide; a form of gendered colonization which targets Indigenous women and girls for violence and denies them basic human rights protections. This genocide includes the theft of Indigenous lands and resources and the criminalization of Indigenous peoples who peacefully defend their lands and peoples from the violence, especially from the extractive industry.

The UN Security Council should not welcome a state perpetrator of genocide that has failed to accept responsibility for the genocide and failed to act urgently to end it. Similarly, member states of the UN should recall that Canada was one of only four states that fought against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which protects the rights of Indigenous peoples to self-determination, control over their traditional lands and resources and protections from forced removal from their lands by the state. While Canada has reversed its position on UNDRIP and claims to now support it unconditionally, it has failed to implement it into domestic law (with the exception of the Province of British Columbia).

The UN Security Council’s mandate is to maintain international peace and security. They are responsible to identify threats to peace or acts of aggression and have the authority to impose sanctions or authorize intervention. The Council has 15 members, five are permanent (China, Russia, France, United Kingdom and the United States) and ten are non-permanent and replaced on a rotating basis. Canada is vying for one of five seats that will be elected in June alongside other countries like Norway and Ireland. Canada lost its seat under the former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. To this end, Trudeau is campaigning on the African continent and will soon be headed to the Caribbean and eventually Germany to make his case.

UN Security Council

A truck sits by the tracks near the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Photo courtesy: Annette Francis

Yet, it is hard to contemplate how the member states of the UN could vote for Canada given its record of human rights abuses and genocide of Indigenous peoples. Keep in mind that both the UN and the Organization of American States (OAS) have shared their grave concerns about the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls finding of ongoing genocide in Canada. The UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) has also asked Canada to urgently withdraw the RCMP and weapons from Wet’suwet’en territory and to halt any major development projects on Indigenous territories unless they have consent.

The UN member states should also consider that Canada has continuously failed to act on the numerous recommendations from various UN human rights treaty bodies pleading with Canada to end its grave human rights violations against Indigenous peoples, especially Indigenous women. Whether it is the UNCERD, UN Human Rights Council, UN Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Canada consistently fails to remedy these serious human rights breaches.

While there will be many other political considerations that go into each UN member state’s decision as to whether to support Canada’s bid for a seat on the UN Security Council, Canada’s record of ongoing genocide and human rights abuses against Indigenous peoples, and its recent armed invasion of Wet’suwet’en territory should give them pause. Canada has long pointed fingers around the world, criticizing human rights breaches, yet it has failed to address its own – and it’s killing our people.

UN Security Council

Red dresses hang at the 27 km marker along the Morice Forest Service Rd. Photo: Lee Wilson/APTN

Canada does not deserve a seat at the UN Security Council unless and until they address peace and security in their own country. Indigenous women and girls continue to disappear and be murdered, Indigenous peoples are grossly overincarcerated, and our children are stolen into the foster care system at rates higher than during residential schools.

Our lands and waters are being destroyed by massive development and extractive projects without regard for the cost to the planet or human lives. Canada’s continued acts of genocide and ecocide will eventually impact other states as climate change cannot be contained within artificial political borders. The planet is in crisis and the UN Security Council will have to face ever growing threats to peace and security worldwide. The last thing they need is to be guided by states that don’t address their own human rights, peace and security issues.

Pamela Palmater is a Mi’kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick. She has been a practicing lawyer for 20 years and currently holds the position of Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University. SOURCE

Greta Thunberg Supports Activists Rallying For Wet’suwet’en In BC (PHOTOS)

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Antonello Marangi | Dreamstime Jason Hargrove | Flickr

As tensions continue to escalate between Coastal GasLink protestors and the Canadian government, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has shared her support for the Wet’suwet’en cause. Taking to Twitter to speak out against the pipeline construction, Thunberg shared a photo of B.C.’s Wet’suwet’en protests. The 17-year-old wrote, “Indigenous rights = Climate justice.”

Greta Thunberg has made her position on B.C.’s pipeline construction clear by posting her support for the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s protests.

Retweeting a post from a Vancouver-based climate activist, Thunberg wrote, “Indigenous rights = Climate justice.” She added, “#WetsuwetenStrong, #KeepItInTheGround.”

Her post came in response to the news that Indigenous youth had been protesting outside of the BC Legislature in Victoria for more than 26 hours, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation, reports Global News.

The Indigenous nation has been opposing the new Coastal GasLink since December, when the B.C. Supreme Court granted the pipeline an expanded injunction.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have not given their consent to the new construction project, and have accused the company of violating their traditional laws.

Within two hours, Thunberg’s tweet got more than 8,000 likes.

On Friday, Thunberg shared another clip from the B.C. protests, retweeting a video of a supporter shutting down the intersection of Metcalfe and Slater.

The disagreement between the two groups continues to cause disruption across Canada, blocking ferries in B.C. and Via Rail train routes in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto.

On Thursday six people were arrested by the RCMP, for refusing to evacuate the pipeline construction site, reports Global.

This isn’t the first time this week that Thunberg has spoken out about Canadian environmental politics.

On Thursday, the activist shared an article from The Guardian that was highly critical of Justin Trudeau’s climate action.

Quoting the article in her post, Thunberg wrote, “If an alcoholic assured you he was taking his condition very seriously, but also laying in a 40-year store of bourbon, you’d be entitled to doubt his sincerity.”

Their statement said, “The Dinï ze’ and Ts’akë ze’ continue to resist colonial and gendered violence against Wet’suwet’en people, and to protect Wet’suwet’en lands for future generations.” SOURCE

RCMP arrest 11 more pipeline opponents on third day of Wet’suwet’en raids

An RCMP officer peers through a gate at Unist’ot’en Camp in Wet’suwet’en territory on Feb. 8, 2020. Photo by Michael Toledano

Using an ever-changing set of rules, RCMP in British Columbia arrested 11 opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline Saturday, the third day of raids on Wet’suwet’en Nation territory.

RCMP also continued to obstruct journalists on the remote forest road in northern B.C. where the conflict is playing out, drawing international criticism. A spokesperson for one of the nation’s five clans, Molly Wickham of Gidimt’en, said the police broke a promise not to make more arrests until after a meeting with the nation’s hereditary chiefs.

“The RCMP have come in with their guns,” said Wickham, also known as Sleydo. “They’re doing this all while we are waiting… to talk to the RCMP.”

Police are enforcing a court injunction to force the Wet’suwet’en and their supporters out of the path of the pipeline, which is planned to run through the nation’s unceded territory even though Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs haven’t consented. The tiny community has built four camps along the Morice West Forest Service Road, about 1,200 kilometres from Vancouver, as they reoccupy their unceded territory and oppose Coastal GasLink.

The raids began Thursday. With Saturday’s total included, police have made 21 arrests over three days, also temporarily detaining two journalists on Thursday and one journalist on Friday.

Saturday’s raid happened at the first camp along the road, a gathering place for supporters which is located at the 27-kilometre mark of the snowy road.

Originally, the RCMP said people were welcome to gather there, as it was outside the zone affected by the court injunction. But police extended the restricted area ⁠— known as an exclusion zone ⁠⁠— to include the 27-kilometre camp late Friday. It happened after Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters used their vehicles to block RCMP officers from leaving the area to process four pipeline opponents who were arrested that day.

In a statement, the RCMP said commanders decided to expand the exclusion zone because metal spikes on the road made several police vehicles “inoperative.”

Police were eventually able to clear the vehicles and asked everyone at the 27-kilometre camp to leave. “People can’t leave because police towed their vehicles away,” said a statement from Unist’ot’en Camp, the settlement furthest along the forest road.

Eventually, Sleydo said in a live video posted to Facebook, police agreed to meet with the hereditary chiefs at 10 a.m. and not arrest anyone at the camp until 11 a.m. But the RCMP didn’t show ⁠— instead, she added, officers surrounded the camps and made arrests at about 1:30 p.m. and blocked the chiefs from going past the four-kilometre checkpoint.

RCMP arrested 11 people as the conflict over the Coastal GasLink pipeline stretched into its third day. Meanwhile, the RCMP drew international condemnation for repeatedly violating freedom of the press. #bcpoli

In the live video, two RCMP officers from a specialized liaison team can be seen approaching a vehicle where hereditary chiefs and Wet’suwet’en supporters are assembled.

“We’re supposed to be meeting before anything happens at 27,” Sleydo says to a male officer.

“People there have been asked to leave,” says the officer, adding that he needs to get up to the camp.

“Why?” asks Sleydo. The officer walks away without answering the question, and both liaison officers hop into an RCMP truck and drive away.

Several people were also allowed to leave the camp voluntarily. They declined rides from police, choosing to walk to the four-kilometre checkpoint. Others were arrested after they barricaded themselves inside a cabin.

Earlier in the day, at about 11:20 a.m. Pacific time, officers used helicopters to get over Wet’suwet’en barriers and approach the gates of Unist’ot’en Camp. Unist’ot’en is the largest and oldest camp, home to a $2-million healing centre.

“Unist’ot’en matriarchs and indigenous supporters went into ceremony and refused to speak to police,” read a statement from the camp. As they burned the injunction, a traditional funeral pyre was lit with a homemade flag on top reading, ‘Reconciliation is Dead.’”

The RCMP left the area in their helicopters just after noon, Unist’ot’en reported.

Unist’ot’en Camp@UnistotenCamp

Feb 8, 2020, RCMP officers landed at @UnistotenCamp by helicopter. Chiefs, house members called on ancestors & held cremation ceremony for Canadian/Indigenous . Copy of CGL injunction burned. After 30 mins, RCMP left.

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RCMP under fire for blocking freedom of the press

RCMP temporarily blocked reporters from getting through the four-kilometre mark, despite a statement to the contrary on Friday night. After waiting for an hour and a half, CBC reporter Chantelle Bellrichard said on Twitter that she had been allowed in, only to have RCMP hold her back and block her view of arrests at 27-kilometre.

“Increasingly frustrating to do our job on the ground and have never had to argue for press freedoms so strenuously,” Bellrichard tweeted.

RCMP have repeatedly impeded reporters on the road. In a statement Saturday, the online media outlet Ricochet said its journalist on the ground, Jerome Turner, was “continuously” detained during an RCMP raid on the Gidimt’en Checkpoint Friday, at the 44-kilometre mark of the road.

Police detained Turner in a ditch 60 feet from where officers were arresting people, Ricochet said.

“This ditch was in a location where Turner could not connect to the internet, and he was not allowed to get to a location where he could get a signal and send updates to his editors,” the statement said.

“As a result, he was out of contact for eight hours yesterday, with his editors unsure of his status or safety.”

Later, Turner agreed to leave. But RCMP detained him again and prevented him from going to the blockade at the 27-kilometre camp, only releasing him after the vehicles in the road had been towed.

Earlier, on Thursday, journalists were told they’d be arrested if they recorded tactical officers holding guns or officers smashing a truck window to make an arrest, tweeted Jesse Winter, a reporter on assignment for Vice.

The continuous infringements on press freedom have been condemned by the international Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, the Canadian Association of Journalists, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and Amnesty International.

The RCMP have declined to provide a map showing what’s inside the exclusion zone. Though the RCMP previously said any journalists in the area would be arrested, the force walked that statement back Friday following condemnation from the Canadian Association of Journalists and others.


Matriarchs and supporters at Unist’ot’en Camp burned a copy of a court injunction meant to clear them out of their traditional territory on Feb. 8, 2020. Photo by Michael Toledano

Coastal GasLink, explained

The controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline is owned by TC Energy, a Calgary-based energy company formerly known as TransCanada Corp. If built, the 670-kilometre pipeline would cut through Wet’suwet’en territory to bring natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the proposed LNG Canada facility in Kitimat, B.C., for processing and export.

Under Wet’suwet’en law, hereditary chiefs from five clans have authority over the nation’s 22,000 square kilometres of unceded territory. The hereditary chiefs have repeatedly opposed Coastal GasLink.

But TC Energy touts agreements it’s made with elected Wet’suwet’en band councils, which were created under Canada’s colonial Indian Act. The elected councils have jurisdiction over reserve lands but not the area adjacent to the pipeline.

The hereditary chiefs’ land claim is backed by a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision. But a second trial ordered by the court hasn’t yet happened and many aspects of the dispute are still unresolved.

Last year, RCMP enforcing an earlier court injunction violently arrested 14 people at the Gidimt’en Checkpoint. Documents later revealed by the Guardian showed that officers had been prepared to use lethal force.

In the aftermath of that raid, the hereditary chiefs said they were concerned about safety and agreed to allow GasLInk in for pre-construction work on the pipeline. But the hereditary chiefs evicted the company shortly after a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted Coastal GasLink the second injunction on Dec. 31.

The RCMP began steadily increasing police presence on Wet’suwet’en territory on Jan. 13, putting up a blockade at the 27-kilometre mark of the road. Officers poured into the surrounding towns as they prepared to enforce the second injunction.

Though the hereditary chiefs and the province agreed last week to seven days of talks to de-escalate the situation, the discussions broke down Tuesday night. The next day, the RCMP warned they would begin enforcing the injunction imminently.

The first round of raids began hours before dawn Thursday. Officers with the court injunction in hand stormed a media camp and supply post at the 39-kilometre mark of the road, arresting four.

Officers arrested six more during Friday’s raid on the Gidimt’en Checkpoint, the result of a seven-hour standoff that left the camp still standing.

Police had also tried to get people barricaded inside a trapping cabin off the road near Gidimt’en Checkpoint to leave Friday. “Heavily armed” officers tried again Saturday, but Unist’ot’en said the people inside that cabin remained inside.

The six people arrested Thursday were released without charges, while the four arrested Friday will have their first court appearance Monday in the nearby town of Smithers, B.C., Unist’ot’en Camp said.

The situation has been condemned by the B.C. Human Rights Commission, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Meanwhile, solidarity demonstrations have played out across the country since Thursday, with Wet’suwet’en supporters blocking highways and major rail lines ⁠— including the VIA Rail route between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. SOURCE

Day 4: RCMP continue enforcement against Wet’suwet’en over pipeline injunction

More than 20 people have been arrested since enforcement actions began

RCMP are seen pulling an arrestee out of the warming centre area on Saturday, Feb. 8. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

t is day four of the RCMP’s enforcement of an injunction order in northern B.C. to ensure that Coastal Gaslink and its contractors can resume work in a disputed area of the pipeline route in the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en nation.

Since Thursday the RCMP have been moving in, kilometre-by-kilometre, camp-by-camp, down the Morice West Forest Service Road, to enforce the injunction against named Wet’suwet’en defendants and supporters.

The forest service road begins at a turn off from Highway 16 in Houston, B.C. It twists and curves, forking off in different directions and is a roadway Coastal Gaslink is depending on for construction work on a $6-billion, 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline that has received approval from the province.

Twenty First Nations band councils have signed agreements in support of the project, including five of the six band councils in the Wet’suwet’en nation.

However, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say those band councils are only responsible for the territory within their individual reserves because their authority comes only from the Indian Act. The hereditary chiefs — who are the leaders of the nation’s governance system in place before the imposition of the Indian Act — assert authority over 22,000 square kilometres of the nation’s traditional territory, an area recognized as unceded by the Supreme Court of Canada in a 1997 decision.

First Nations and other organizers have been rallying in support of the hereditary chiefs across Canada — holding solidarity protests, putting up roadblocks and blocking railways across the country while others grow increasingly frustrated with the people defying the injunction order and want to see the pipeline go ahead.
Supporters of the Wet’suwet’en in Ontario are blocking a rail line in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs. Dozens of Via Rail are cancelled between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. 3:42

More than 20 people arrested since Thursday

By Saturday night, police had arrested a total of 21 people. Eleven of those people were arrested on Saturday at a site referred to as the warming centre, after police announced it had become part of an expanded exclusion zone.

Police told the people at that warming centre on Friday night they have to leave the site by Saturday morning or face arrest for breaching the injunction. The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs objected to people being removed from the area and the relationship between chiefs and the police was visibly strained on Saturday.

“We’ve been fed a bunch of lies ever since we met you guys,” hereditary chief Madeek told RCMP Chief Superintendent Dave Attfield in a heated phone conversation on Saturday when the chiefs were being kept out of their territory at a checkpoint marking a expanded exclusion zone.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Madeek speaking to RCMP Chief Superintendent Dave Attfield on the phone while being prevented from crossing a police checkpoint into his territory. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC News)

RCMP say the exclusion zone was expanded on Saturday based on the actions of people at the warming centre in recent days “that could possibly endanger those who travel the road, and a blockade of parked vehicles.”

CBC has asked the RCMP for clarification about what precisely an “exclusion zone” is and has yet to receive a response.

Unist’ot’en next reoccupation site facing enforcement 

Much of Saturday’s police activity involved police removing people from the warming centre area.

As the injunction enforcement continues for the fourth day, there remains one main site where police have yet to take action — the Uniost’ot’en healing village.
It’s not clear how many people are staying there or what kind of obstacles stand in the way of Coastal Gaslink and its contractors.

Police said in a news release that members of the Indigenous Police Division and Division Liaison team approached Unist’ot’en “to facilitate conversation” on Saturday but said “the occupants of the Healing Centre declined to engage.

Social media posts and news reports from journalists embedded at the centre reported the police arrived by helicopter and that people at Unist’ot’en did not engage in conversation with the police because they were holding a ceremony.

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with numerous Indigenous communities. But the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation opposes the pipeline project through its traditional territories. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

Police said in their release that they travelled to the site “by alternative means of travel” because they couldn’t travel over a bridge leading to the site.

The bridge over the Lamprey Creek, about 20 kilometres away from Unist’ot’en, is impassable, said police. They’ve said a criminal investigation into the situation is going to be undertaken, saying officers noticed on Friday that support beams on the bridge appear to have been cut.

CBC is unaware of what kind of enforcement actions might take place at Unist’ot’en, and when, but will be watching for developments throughout the day. SOURCE

No Pipelines in a Climate Emergency

This is a climate emergency. It’s time to act like it.

From June 9-18, people from coast-to-coast-to-coast are taking action to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Cabinet are expected to release their decision on whether they’ll approve the controversial project by June 18.

The Trans Mountain project could add 13 to 15 megatonnes of carbon emissions to the atmosphere, which would be like adding almost 3.8 million cars on the road. This will make it impossible for us to meet our climate targets, which are already far from the scale of emissions cuts that are needed.

At the same time, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) continues to push its “Coastal GasLink” (CGL) fracked gas pipeline.

As the Unist’ot’en Camp writes, “On January 7, 2019, the world watched in shock and horror as the unarmed Indigenous Wet’suwet’en were illegally forced at gunpoint to concede a checkpoint at the entrance to their unceded territories… The international community responded with a massive show of support and solidarity for the Wet’suwet’en protecting their land, with nearly 100 simultaneous demonstrations”.

Council chapters, supporters, and allies took action. It’s time to do so again.

The Unist’ot’en Camp is counting on supporters to mobilize in a big way for the next step in their legal battle. They write that “On the week of June 10, the BC Supreme Court in Prince George will hear Coastal GasLink’s petition for an interlocutory injunction. If they are successful, the interim injunction will be made functionally permanent, allowing CGL to continue with pipeline construction on Unist’ot’en territory without the consent of hereditary chiefs.”

Take Action HERE

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‘The Wet’suwet’en Need to Lead This. That’s All There Is to It’

NDP MP Romeo Saganash is behind a private member’s bill that aims to clarify the federal government’s role in ensuring Indigenous human rights. The bill has already made it through the House of Commons. If it passes a second reading in the Senate, Bill C-262 will head to a committee, before a final vote in the Senate would make it law. The push is on now because there’s a short window to get the law passed before the fall federal election. Demand action!

Today, Chief Na’Moks briefs the UN on Canada’s Indigenous rights progress. He’s well prepared.

ChiefNaMoksGidumtenCheckpoint.jpg
Chief Na’Moks at the Gidumt’en checkpoint, December 2018. Photo by Michael Toledano.

Three years ago, Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Na’Moks stood in full regalia before the United Nations in New York City. He propped his cellphone in front of him, took a deep breath and began to speak.

“They thought I was reading a speech. I was looking at a picture of that mountain,” he says, gesturing toward Hudson Bay Mountain, the glaciated peak that presides over Wet’suwet’en territory in northwest British Columbia. “That’s all I had in front of me. You’ve got to speak from the heart.”

It was May 2016, the day after Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced that Canada would remove its objector status to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which had been accepted nearly a decade earlier by the UN General Assembly.

Na’Moks, whose English name is John Ridsdale, was there to make a promise to the UN: That he would return one year later to provide a full report on Canada’s progress implementing the declaration.

Today, Na’Moks addresses the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, his second update to the UN since that first visit.

Again, he’ll prop his phone before him, but this time he’ll be reading from notes. It’s important he stick to the talking points — in particular, those addressing Article 10 of UNDRIP, the section that deals with forcible removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands.

“Nothing’s really changed from the time that they accepted it,” he says about Canada’s promise to implement UNDRIP. “They’ve really not done anything.”

RCMP-Pipeline-Camp.jpg
Heavily armed RCMP officers arrived Monday to shut down Indigenous checkpoints blocking a natural gas pipeline. Photo by Michael Toledano.

Na’Moks, the highest-ranking chief of the Tsayu clan, stood and watched with chiefs of three other Wet’suwet’en clans on Jan. 7 as RCMP carrying automatic weapons forcefully removed a checkpoint put in place by the Gidumt’en clan to prevent Coastal GasLink pipeline workers from accessing the territory. MORE

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B.C. Environmental Assessment Office finds Coastal GasLink in Non-Compliance; Office of the Wet’suwet’en Requests B.C Government to Issue Cease-and-Desist Order for Coastal GasLink

January 30, 2019 – The Office of the Wet’suwet’en has written to B.C Minister of Environment George Heyman to request an immediate cease-and-desist work order for Coastal GasLink pipeline project on Wet’suwet’en territories.

This comes after the Office of the Wet’suwet’en received an email from the B.C Environmental Assessment Office Compliance and Enforcement Officer stating that Coastal GasLink was not compliant with the pre-construction requirements at six of the inspected locations, and has been conducting work outside of their Environmental Assessment Certificate conditions. The email further states that the Compliance and Enforcement Officer has issued a Warning of Non Compliance to Coastal GasLink under the Environmental Assessment Act.

No photo description available.“Coastal GasLink has been found non-compliant in six legally-required and legally-binding conditions. This report by the B.C Environmental Assessment Office Compliance and Enforcement Officer affirms our own Wet’suwet’en investigations about Coastal GasLink’s willful and illegal disregard for our territories and cultural practices. The provincial government is required to uphold its own law and issue an immediate cease-and-desist work order for Coastal GasLink pipeline project on Wet’suwet’en territories. This project already does not have free, prior and informed consent under Wet’suwet’en rule of law, and now is violating B.C laws,” says Chief Namoks. MORE