VANCOUVER-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s speech to a number of Frist Nation leaders in Vancouver Tuesday was stalled by protesters who sat in and loudly yelled as they tried to get into the John Diefenbaker building.
Holding signs they chanted in support of the Wet’siwet’en but were kept out of a room where the Prime Minister was due to speak.
The federal NDP’s reconciliation critic says the justification used for the RCMP’s intervention of a blockade in northern British Columbia is “pretty lame’’ in the era of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
Romeo Saganash joined demonstrators on Parliament Hill today before a group marched through downtown Ottawa streets with signs including a large red sign stating “RCMP Off Wet’suwet’en Land.’’
The Mounties say they were enforcing the injunction from the B.C. Supreme Court in removing anyone who interferes with the Coastal GasLink project in and around the Morice River Bridge.
Members of the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have set up a camp and a checkpoint southwest of Houston, B.C., on a forest-service road that leads to a pipeline construction site.
Coastal GasLink says it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the route but demonstrators say Wet’suwet’en house chiefs, who are hereditary rather than elected, have not given consent.
Saganash says he did not hear back from the provincial and federal Indigenous affairs ministers that he asked to help alleviate tension in northern B.C. prior to the arrests by the Mounties.
Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Tuesday the RCMP’s action is a human rights violation. “This use of force against peaceful people is a violation of human rights and First Nations’ rights. Building consensus under duress will make the resolution of the situation in Northern British Columbia very difficult. Real consensus will be built when the parties, with very different views, come together in meaningful and productive dialogue. And I am confident that they can do this.
Canada and the B.C. government have both pledged to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but are trying to impose their laws over Wet’suwet’en laws. If this was really about the ‘rule of law’ then governments would be honouring the rights and title of First Nations in their traditional territories, which are recognized by Canada’s own courts.
The AFN supports the governance and decision-making process of the Wet’suwet’en leaders. Canada and B.C. should do the same. There is no reconciliation in the actions that unfolded yesterday.”