(OTTAWA) - Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (Saanich – Gulf Islands), was one of more than 100 signatories to a letter sent to the provincial and federal government, as well as the RCMP, expressing support for the Unist’ot’en community’s right to defend their lands from oil and gas development.
“One of the significant concerns regarding Bill C-51 is language that can lead to legitimate protesters being seen as security threats,” said Ms. May. “The Green Party supports the Unist’ot’en and their right to provide consent for the use of their lands. I join Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs in denouncing any attempt by the RCMP to conduct mass arrests on unceded Unist’ot’en territory.”
“It is imperative that the RCMP does not provoke a conflict; it would be reckless and irresponsible,” continued May.
“This camp has been peacefully defending the land since 2009,” said Brenda Sayers, Green Party candidate (North Island-Powell River), “Why would the RCMP choose now to contemplate mass arrests? Is it related to the election?”
“The good people of this camp are defending their responsibility for stewardship of the land. Their rights were reaffirmed by the Tsilhqot'in decision last summer. The people of the Unist'ot'en Camp are peaceful. Police escalation is inappropriate and dangerous,” said Lynne Quarmby, Green candidate in Burnaby-North Seymour.
“It is necessary and important that our governments and the RCMP know that we are watching and that we care. We care about the people in the camp and we care about the land that they are protecting. Especially in election time, when there is temptation to use these types of issues as hot-button issues, we must all remain calm,” continued Quarmby.
A total of eleven companies are currently proposing to run oil and gas pipelines through Unist’ot’en territory, but the Unist'ot'en have not given their consent for the project, and continue their blockade of the area.
Other signatories include Union of BC Indian Chiefs, BC Assembly of First Nations, Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 718, Idle No More, Council of Canadians, David Suzuki, and Naomi Klein. A full list of signatories and the letter is available here: http://goo.gl/forms/BbthxPNRmh
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