Green Party calls on Trudeau and Horgan to respect Wet’suwet’en rights

VICTORIA, B.C.  — The Green Party of Canada is calling for the federal government to recall the RCMP detachment sent into Wet’suwet’en territory last year. Green MP Paul Manly (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) traveled to Wet’suwet’en territory over the weekend and met with hereditary clan chiefs as well as RCMP officers stationed in the area.

“The fact that the RCMP have been sent in shows that this is a political failure on the part of the provincial and federal governments,” said Manly. “The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs provided alternative routes to Coastal GasLink that would have been acceptable to them as a pipeline corridor. Coastal GasLink decided that it did not want to take those acceptable options and instead insisted on a route that drives the pipeline through ecologically pristine and culturally important areas.”

“The federal and provincial governments’ actions demonstrate complete disrespect for the constitutional role of the hereditary chiefs in the management of their land,” said Green Party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “British Columbia recently enacted new legislation in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This situation undermines the constitutional role played by the hereditary chiefs. The RCMP have been placed at the centre of a political battle, one which should be addressed immediately and respectfully through consultation.”

Ms. May added that Greens will ask Justice Minister David Lametti to consider reform of injunction law that converts our national peace officers into private police for large corporations.

“The people do not feel that the agreement properly represents their position,” said Mr. Manly “The hereditary chiefs are asking for nation-to-nation negotiations with the provincial and federal governments.”

“Greens call on B.C. Premier Horgan to meet with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs as quickly as possible. We also want the B.C. government to address this situation through the lens of UNDRIP. Since UNDRIP was brought in to address historic injustice, how can it be ignored in order to allow this injustice to persist? The Wet'sowet'en hereditary chiefs have jurisdiction over their traditional territories, and they clearly have not given their consent."

“Right now the focus must be on de-escalating tensions,” said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “If there has to be an RCMP presence on Wet’suwet’en territory then we want to ensure that it remains a peaceful and respectful one. This situation must not be resolved through the use of force. This situation was created through a failure of politics, and the only way to resolve it is by fixing the politics."

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