Support Land Defenders on Vancouver Island
Denounce RCMP Assaults on Land Defenders
On August 23, hundreds of people in over a dozen communities in BC participated in actions organized outside RCMP detachments to protest the ongoing RCMP violence against land defenders on Vancouver Island.
More than 800 people have been arrested since May when police began enforcing an injunction granted to logging company Teal-Jones. Injunctions such as this one issued by the courts show how the state intervenes on behalf of narrow private interests and then, when vicious assaults take place and rights are trampled underfoot with impunity, violating every sacred right of citizens and Indigenous peoples, governments stand back and sanctimoniously say there is nothing they can do, “it is a law and order issue.”
Police have also arrested journalists and legal observers as well as participants in the blockade but governments at all levels are silent. They holler if journalists are arrested abroad in countries where they support regime change but remain silent when the same happens in Canada. It reveals the hypocritical nature of what are called the liberal democratic institutions in Canada and it is high time this hypocrisy is put to rest.
The issue is that old growth forest is being destroyed by the private interests governments are permitting to conduct business. The fact is that by hereditary right the Indigenous peoples are the stewards of the land and theirs must be the final say when it comes to how the land and its resources are managed. As it stands, despite a ruling by the Supreme Court of BC on July 20 that certain RCMP actions to enforce the “exclusion zones” that they have set up are unlawful, the RCMP continue to act with impunity.
For over a year, hundreds of people have participated in peaceful civil disobedience actions near Port Renfrew on southern Vancouver Island to prevent the harvesting of old growth trees. The NDP government is not implementing its own election promise to defer old growth logging. It is not doing its duty to protect the environment. Citizens are within their rights to do their duty when governments are derelict in doing theirs. After government’s refusal to act, Indigenous youth and others from the surrounding communities set up the blockades and are doing their duty as the defenders of the land. All power to them and their allies, which include many elderly people who are putting their lives on the line to defend what is right.
Instead of addressing the people’s concerns, the government’s claim that this is a “law and order” issue gives the RCMP a green light to remove the blockades. Governments take no responsibility for the fact that police have been acting with impunity, blocking access to journalists and legal observers, assaulting people, confiscating and destroying personal property, and leaving garbage and debris where they have taken down blockaders’ camps and then blaming the people for the mess.
People have a right to have a say in matters that affect them, not least of which is the verified dangers posed to the people, their communities and humankind by abuse and destruction of the natural environment by narrow private interests. Protecting the forests of BC and determining how this precious resource is to be developed in a manner which gives the Indigenous peoples final say is an essential issue for forestry communities who can see the necessity of working together. It is a matter of mutual benefit which brings one and all together to get it right.
Denounce the criminal assaults of the RCMP, and the role of governments and the courts which permit it, and the narrow private interests whose agents they all are!
The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada calls on all Canadians to support the land defenders on Vancouver Island!