February 22, 2020 - No. 5

In Memoriam

Audrey Kubiak

January 28, 1968 – February 17, 2020

The U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization with great sadness informs that their comrade and great friend of our Party, Audrey Kubiak, passed away peacefully in her sleep on February 17, after a courageous and exemplary battle with cancer.

Audrey embodied the courage which characterizes the fighting U.S. working class. Without flinching, she would defy the threats of the U.S. rulers which, in their cowardice, are never idle. She stood as one with the people to encourage everyone to affirm their rights. Her modesty and smile were tempered by her fidelity to the principles which will, one day, surely defeat U.S. imperialism and open society's path to progress.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) expresses its deepest sympathies to the USMLO and our profound sorrow at Audrey's loss.

The USMLO writes:

As a long-time organizer with the U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization and a regular distributor of Buffalo Forum, Audrey was well-known across the Buffalo metro-region and beyond. She earned the respect, admiration and social love of hundreds of members of the community, especially for her courageous work in defence of the rights of all in the face of many challenges. Many women and families in Lackawanna joined her to defend themselves against government attacks, including the violent FBI raids of homes, arrests, FBI cameras at the mosque and soccer field, and branding of those who stood up as terrorists. But stood up she did. Her work in defence of Palestine was also very courageous at a time government hostility towards the Palestinians, Yemeni and other peoples was at fever pitch.

Audrey stood firmly against U.S. imperialism and played an important role at many anti-war demonstrations, in Buffalo, Washington, DC and New York City, leading chants and ensuring a militant spirit prevailed. She participated in work to defend the environment, including advancing the stand that the harmful fracking for natural gas served war and was to be banned everywhere. Her smiling face was a beacon to community members and store owners on the east-side and at mosques and churches where she distributed Buffalo Forum. Several generations of young people benefited from her help and guidance.

Wherever she went she joined as one with the people, expressing her social love, readily giving her all in the cause of peace, freedom and democracy so as to open society's path to progress. She knew well the racism and devastation caused by the U.S., knew to target the state not the people for the problems of racism, poverty and war. She fought for a new society where people can provide their rights with a guarantee and empower themselves to set the direction for the economy, political affairs, both domestic and foreign, and all matters related to the social and natural environment. Audrey's tireless advocacy under all conditions and circumstances, for a bright future fit for all human beings, here and abroad, remains an inspiration. For this advocacy and her fidelity to everything she stood for, we will remain forever grateful.

Our condolences and deepest sympathies to her family, comrades, co-workers and many friends. In all walks of life her loss will be felt, including among her "dog-park" friends, her Tae Kwon Do friends, where she earned a black belt and was student of the year, her many friends from work, including their children for whom she organized "kids day," her softball and hiking friends, and more.

Audrey's courage and optimism against all odds leaves an indelible mark on all of us. May her many exploits help to guide us as we hold her memory and contributions in our hearts.

Canada's Unfounded Claim to Uphold International Rule of Law

A Historical Turning Point Which the
Trudeau Government Cannot Will Away

Canada's Imperialist Multilateralism
- Margaret Villamizar -
Lima Group Is Not Welcome in Canada!
• Pickets Say No! to Foul Activities of Lima Group

A New Relationship is Required with Indigenous Peoples 

• The Onus Is on Canada, Not Indigenous Peoples

- Barbara Biley -
Impotent Response of the Office of the Civilian Review
and Complaints Division of the RCMP

Actions Continue Across the Country Demanding  Rights
and Title of Wet'suwet'en Be Respected

• Widescale Support of Unions and Other Organizations
for Wet'suwet'en Demands

Proposal to Replace Blockaded Trains with Trucks Is an Attempt to Embroil Truckers in the Denial of Indigenous Rights:
the Answer Is No!

- Normand Chouinard -
• Quebec Government Announces "Grand Alliance" with Cree While Calling for Police Intervention to End Blockades

At the Kahnawà:ke Blockade

Canada's Relations with CARICOM 

• Self-Serving Definition of What It Means
to Be a "Vital Partner"

- Tony Seed -

Canada's Unfounded Claim to Uphold International Rule of Law

A Historical Turning Point Which the Trudeau Government Cannot Will Away

The Trudeau government's campaign for a seat on the United Nations Security Council has now gone into in high gear. It is competing for the two-year appointment with Ireland and Norway, which is why Trudeau and his foreign minister Francois-Philippe Champagne have been seen schmoozing with various African, Caribbean, Latin American and other countries of late in hopes of getting their votes. Nonetheless, Canada's yeoman's service to the U.S. imperialist economic bloc and war machine belies its self-image as a peacekeeper and honest broker, while its adherence to colonial state arrangements which violate UN treaties and conventions makes its claim to be a paragon of democracy blatantly untrue. In fact, its bid for a seat on the UN Security Council has come up against ever stronger headwinds as its much-repeated claim that Canada is a rule of law country -- presumably making it well suited for a seat on the Security Council -- is exposed for all the world to see.

This week Canada's lack of regard for the UN Charter and tenets of international law and diplomacy in the conduct of its foreign affairs was on full display as it hosted the illegitimate Lima Group in Gatineau to conspire against the Venezuelan people and continue interfering in their affairs in an effort to bring about regime change. It cynically refers to this as "restoring democracy." However this was denounced with the contempt it deserved outside the meeting venue in Gatineau, in Montreal outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s riding office, in Toronto at Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office and at offices of MPs and Ministers in other cities as well.

If there was any doubt about what Canada is playing a part in today by appeasing the U.S. striving to assert its hegemony over all of Latin America and the Caribbean, and elsewhere, that doubt should have been dispelled on hearing President Trump's State of the Union address delivered February 4 to the U.S. Congress. In his speech, Trump left little doubt about who makes the rules in the "rules-based international order," which Canada defends and has lent itself to enforcing. Trump used the occasion, one day before the U.S. Senate found him not guilty in his impeachment trial, to flaunt his government of police powers and his own ability to wield unrestrained executive power, emperor-like, both at home and abroad, backed up with U.S. military might unconstrained by the U.S. constitution or international law. This was the implication of his bluster that President Maduro's "grip of tyranny will be smashed and broken" and his mafia-style assurance that "we're going to take care of Venezuela."

Also very significantly, in recent weeks the Canadian state and its agencies have been seen violating every principle that informs and guides nation-to-nation relations, principles which are at the heart of rule of law. Its dismissal of Wet'suwet'en law, which it is duty-bound to respect and uphold, is indicative of its attitude toward international rule of law as well. It refuses to get rid of the racist colonial arrangements and spirit enshrined in the Canadian Constitution so as to uphold Indigenous rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples not only in words but also in deeds. The refusal to respect the No! of the hereditary chiefs to the building of a pipeline on their territory without their free, prior and informed consent, and the widespread and determined resistance it has given rise to is indicative of what Canada does internationally as well when it tramples underfoot the rights of peoples and nations fighting for their right to be.

The present historical turning point leaves the government the option to change, which private interests will not tolerate, or revert to imposing the imperialist dictate that Might Makes Right, which the peoples will not tolerate. No amount of dithering, let alone empty rhetoric which presumes the fighting people of Canada and the fighting peoples of the world will just roll over, will make this historical turning point go away.

The question of what and whose law Canada upholds, which many find themselves asking, is a question posed by history. Self-serving claims about its defence of the rule of law, or the rules-based international order are not new for Canada and are part of the toolbox it uses for meddling in other countries' affairs and committing aggression against them, in violation of the principles the UN was established to uphold, enshrined in its Charter. That is not a minor transgression for a country campaigning for a seat on the Security Council, which has as its function to "maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations."

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Canada's Imperialist Multilateralism

A notion that has been pushed a lot, especially since the Trudeau government decided to enter the race for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2021, is that Canada is a champion of multilateralism. In this way Canada's meddling foreign policy is presented as different and presumably better than Trump's obnoxious "America First" unilateralism. Canada's imperialist multilateralism is based on its preferring to do its meddling as part of coalitions and other groups of like-minded countries rather than on its own. Canada's attempt to convince other countries to support its bid for the UN Security Council seat is not likely to be helped by drawing attention to the defining feature of its foreign policy: its appeasement of U.S. imperialism, all down the line. Therefore a kind of diversion is put in place with a lot of noise being made about Canada's "multilateral agenda" without explaining what it really means.

The Non-Aligned Movement -- comprising some 120 of 193 UN member states, virtually all from Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America -- last year launched a campaign calling for strengthening multilateralism. Its stand is in support of peace and diplomacy that is based on the sovereign equality of all UN member states, mutual non-aggression, and non-interference in one another's domestic affairs. Its aim is to make the UN serve the purpose it was created to fulfil and to hold the U.S. and those appeasing it to account so that they cannot continue applying their "rules" by attacking the peoples of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Syria, Yemen, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, and others with impunity, and enforcing murderous sanctions against them, which are acts of war. It is the antithesis of the multilateralism Canada is practicing as it goes about appeasing U.S. imperialism, violating in the name of high ideals the right of the peoples to live in peace, without interference and free from the threat or use of force.

In a major policy speech Chrystia Freeland gave in 2017 that outlined what the Trudeau government calls its multilateral agenda, she said it involves strengthening the rules-based international order and mentioned Canada's involvement in groups such as the G7, G20, Organization of American States (OAS), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, World Trade Organization, World Health Organization, the Commonwealth, a few others "and of course NATO and the UN." Tellingly, she said the "cornerstone" of Canada's multilateral agenda was its "steadfast commitment to the Transatlantic Alliance," i.e. the aggressive U.S.-led NATO military and political alliance, which openly contravenes the UN Charter and international law.

The illegitimate Lima Group has since been included on the list as another example of Canada's multilateralism in action. It is a model for it in fact, according to Canada's former ambassador to Venezuela who during his tenure as a practitioner of U.S.-style "democracy promotion," turned the Canadian embassy in Caracas into a hub of subversion against the Venezuelan government. 

There could be no clearer indication that what Canada stands for has nothing to do with upholding the principles and purposes of the UN and preserving the peace based on the lessons learned from two catastrophic world wars. Canada's is the imperialist multilateralism and rules that NATO seeks to impose on the world through force. Using what are called diplomatic means to secure regime change versus the use of force allegedly distinguishes the Canadian way from that of the U.S. The fact that the alleged diplomatic means, such as those the Lima Group supposedly engage in, actually prepare the way for the use of force and provide a justification for it in the form of a so-called humanitarian intervention against a "failed state" or one based on the imperialist "responsibility to protect" is not to be discussed. Just like whose rule of law and what kind of law it is which Canada upholds is not to be discussed.

In an address to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations on February 21, Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne outlined what he said were the aims of Canada’s foreign policy, and declared that the campaign for a seat on the Security Council was an opportunity for Canada to give credibility to, strengthen and better adapt multilateralism to the realities of today. In this regard he lamented what he called an upsurge in the selective application and flouting of international law, saying the rules-based international order was under threat. As a result the multilateral system needs modernization, he said, to adapt it to the new realities of today. Champagne said Canada needed to take the lead on this internationally, giving examples of how it has already contributed to the concocted "rules-based order" Canada champions. He pointed to Canada's role in the creation of the Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF, World Bank) and NATO, along with its pioneering during an earlier stint on the Security Council of the imperialist  “responsibility to protect” concept. And of course, more recently, the Lima Group. While Champagne was speaking Canadians and Quebeckers demonstrated outside to denounce Canada’s hosting of a meeting of the Lima Group, and its ongoing interference in the affairs of the Venezuelan people. 

The bottom line for some is that Canada does not deserve a seat on the UN Security Council. This is true. But what about the U.S., Britain, and France -- all of them warmongers -- that along with Russia and China hold veto powers? More than Canada's being undeserving of a seat on the Security Council, events reveal the breakdown of the post-World War II order and international rule of law that the UN was formed to codify and uphold as a means to prevent the scourge of war from recurring.

Today the crisis in which the UN and all institutions based on old arrangements are mired is exposed by the fact that the Anglo-American imperialists use the questions of human rights, peace, freedom and democracy as political tools, as weapons to justify aggression and intervention against peoples and countries that uphold their right to be. These peoples and countries are thus deemed to be hostile to Anglo-American interests and threats to international and national security. This is what the Trudeau government is engaged in under the guise of shunning the unilateralism of Trump -- being inclusive, bringing people together to "solve problems" even if it violates the UN Charter and the principles of international law and diplomacy internationally.

But the world has its own requirements and does not conform to the will of the countries with hegemonic designs. The peoples of Canada and the world strive to empower themselves as they fight for and defend arrangements that are needed, most importantly anti-war governments that will ensure anti-human notions like Might Makes Right are buried once and for all so a world fit for human beings is brought into being. The people's well-being must be put at the centre of all considerations, which requires the defence of the rights of all and regimes that provide them with a guarantee.

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Lima Group Is Not Welcome in Canada!

Montreal protest, February 20, 2020, against Lima Group's Gatineau ministerial meeting.

On February 20, Canada hosted a ministerial meeting of the Lima Group at the Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec. Global Affairs said the meeting was to "discuss the ongoing political, economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and express their solidarity with the people of Venezuela."

This comes a few weeks after the Trudeau government brought shame on itself by meeting, January 27, with the imposter Juan Guaidó, who calls himself the interim president of Venezuela. This imposter is more and more despised at home as a corrupt and untrustworthy individual, even by those who a year ago supported his phony presidency, to the extent that one of his rivals was elected to replace him as president of the national assembly. Yet in Canada, he was received by the Prime Minister in his Parliament Hill office and paraded around as "President Guiadó."

It is shameful that the Canadian government, under the guise of returning democracy to Venezuela, continues to organize and promote the Lima Group and to follow the policy of interference and aggressive threats against Venezuela and to push for regime change on behalf of U.S. interests against the democratically expressed will of the Venezuelan people. It is the height of hypocrisy for the Canadian government to suggest that the continued sanctions and other gross forms of interference to cripple Venezuela's economy represent an effort to support democracy in Venezuela “by peaceful means.”

The U.S. has tightened the sanctions with a full blockade after all other illegal attempts to remove the democratically elected Venezuelan government failed. The Lima Group of countries is playing a nefarious role in trying to justify the ongoing U.S.-led threats of a coup and further acts of violence in Venezuela. These actions of the Canadian government and the Lima Group not only contravene the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, they are also in grave violation of the UN Charter and the Charter of the OAS. The collective punishment of populations, in this case the Venezuelan people, is a crime against humanity.

Canadians support the democratic rights of all people to decide their own destiny and to live in a system of their own choosing, and the hostile actions of the Canadian government towards the Venezuelan people are not acceptable. The Canadian government does not speak or act in the name of Canadians.

ALBA Social Movements Canada organized a demonstration in Gatineau and actions were also held in Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Waterloo and Hamilton to say that the Lima Group is not welcome in Canada and to demand that the government of Canada end all sanctions against Venezuela and promote dialogue and genuine diplomacy instead of economic interference and other kinds of coercion. The next day, February 21, a rally outside the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations conference where Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, was speaking on Canada’s foreign policy demanded Canada get out of the Lima Group.

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Pickets Say No! to Foul Activities of Lima Group

ALBA Social Movements Canada, Ottawa Chapter and other activists from the area and Montreal, held a picket outside the Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, on February 20, where Canada was hosting yet another Lima Group meeting. The demonstrators vigorously denounced this meeting and its aims and activities as both illegitimate and illegal, and their calls included the demand for an end to the sanctions imposed upon the Venezuelan people, which are causing inhuman hardships. Coordinated pickets were held in Montreal and Hamilton.

ALBA's statement, titled "The Lima Group Is not Welcome in Canada!" pointed out: "It is shameful that the Canadian government under the guise of returning democracy to Venezuela, is continuing to promote the Lima Group and follow the policy of interference and aggressive threats against Venezuela and pushing for regime change on behalf of U.S. interests against the democratically expressed will of the Venezuelan people."

Ottawa, February 20, 2020

Inside, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne declared: "The world is watching each and every one of us to bring this new momentum in the quest for the Venezuelan people to democracy," and he spoke of the need to discuss the "Venezuelan crisis." Ironically, what the world is watching at this time is the Canadian government's own crisis as all eyes are on Canada, scrutinizing its violations of national, international and Wet'suwet'en laws and Indigenous rights. No less ironic is the fact that the latest country to join the Lima Group is Haiti, where, on February 29, 2004, the Canadian government played a key role in organizing the coup d'état which overthrew duly elected president Aristide and installed a president whom the U.S. was the first to applaud. The Haitian people have been holding mass demonstrations for the past year to demand the resignation of the current president, Jovenal Moïse, who is accused of broad corruption among other things.

Such are the likes of those who claim to be seeking to "restore democracy" in Venezuela. 

Montreal, February 20, 2020

Toronto, February 20, 2020

Hamilton February 20, 2020

Vancouver, February 20, 2020

Montreal picket, February 21, 2020, outside Montreal Council on Foreign Relations conference.

(Photos: TMLW, M.P. Serrano, MAWO )

Canada's Relations with CARICOM

Self-Serving Definition of What It Means
to Be a "Vital Partner"
- Tony Seed -

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A New Relationship is Required with Indigenous Peoples

The Onus Is on Canada, Not Indigenous Peoples 

Since his election in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has repeatedly said that "no relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous peoples," going so far as to tell the Assembly of First Nations meeting in December 2018 that a "new relationship" with Indigenous people was the legacy he wanted as prime minister.

Talk is cheap and Trudeau's words have been overtaken by the reality of not only the failure of the government to address the chronic problems facing Indigenous communities, including the crises of housing, lack of potable water, unemployment, poverty and youth suicides, but the repeated use of police violence against Indigenous people defending their rights. In case there was any confusion about where the government stands, the federal government is appealing through the courts the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's decision that Canada has been underfunding on-reserve child welfare. Estimates are that over $9 million has been spent so far to appeal the orders of the Tribunal, including its order of September 2019 that the government pay each affected child $40,000.

Talk of "reconciliation" and the "rule of law" is now more than tiresome, with even cabinet ministers acknowledging that words are being bandied about without action to back them up. Worse, the government continues to carry out actions that show a different face, with a deep-seated racism and contempt for Indigenous peoples and for the rule of law. Both Prime Minister Trudeau and BC Premier John Horgan have been called out repeatedly for their disrespectful treatment of the hereditary chiefs, refusing to meet with them since the current crisis began with the eviction notice issued to Coastal GasLink on January 4. 

With their backs against the wall from the massive and country-wide actions in support of the just stand of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and Wet'suwet'en members living on their territory, along with their supporters, the prime minister and premier have reluctantly assigned cabinet ministers to offer to meet with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. For their part, the hereditary chiefs continue to uphold the principled position that first the RCMP must completely withdraw from Wets'uwet'en territories. The hideous face of Canada's colonial institutions can be seen in Trudeau's feigned patience with what he clearly portrays as "unruly chiefs" who refuse to act sensibly. His position is based on a pretense that his government has gone the distance, respected disobedience long enough, encouraged dialogue long enough and now the "onus" to dismantle the blockades belongs to the Indigenous leaders. He reiterated this nonsense of where the "onus" belongs four times in his February 21 press conference. The message he sought to communicate came across loud and clear: if they continue to refuse to dismantle the blockades, they will get what they deserve.

None of these threats and duplicitous, hypocritical and cynical statements change the fact that the onus is on the government of Canada to uphold the hereditary rights of the Indigenous peoples. The government's failure to do its duty gives those who are upholding hereditary rights just cause. Might does not make right, no matter how many weezel words Trudeau throws at the problem. Recognition of Indigenous rights and title has become like a fish bone lodged in the throat of the Liberal government that can't be swallowed and can't be spat out. It will remain a choking point as long as there is no break with the racist Indian Act and the colonial arrangements that were founded on dispossession of the Indigenous peoples of their lands, which continue to this day and are the foundation of the current crisis. 

On January 4, the Wet'suwet'en, based on their own laws on their own unceded land, issued an eviction notice to Coastal GasLink. That law and the hereditary rights of the Wet'suwet'en cannot be extinguished by whatever Trudeau and Horgan and others mean when they self-righteously cite the "rule of law" and then rely on heavily armed colonial police to assault, arrest and remove people from their land. 

Under the existing law, based on colonial arrangements, the Canadian state is derelict in its fiduciary duty to Indigenous peoples, both those whose nations have treaties and those that have not. To discharge that duty the Canadian state should, as a first step in building a new relationship, ensure a Canadian standard of living, including guaranteed income, education, health care, housing and infrastructure that meets the needs of the community, wherever it is. Canada has the means to do so. A government serious about new relationships, especially one that can spend billions on the Trans Mountain Pipeline, has the wherewithal to do so and has no excuse for maintaining the fiction that Indigenous people are 'welfare cases,' lazy, privileged or otherwise unworthy. Federal and provincial government leaders have to stop speaking and acting as if they have nothing to do with righting the historical wrongs or that Canadian society should not and does not have the means to do so.

The Onus Is on Canada, Not the Indigenous Peoples!

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Impotent Response of the Office of the Civilian
Review and Complaints Division of the RCMP

A press conference in Vancouver on February 20 by the BC Civil Liberties Association, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs and the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs released and discussed the response from Michelaine Lahaie, Chairperson of the Office of the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) for the RCMP to their written request for an investigation into what the organizations believe are unlawful RCMP actions on Wet'suwet'en Territory. 

The press conference was addressed by seven people representing the organizations that have raised the issue: Harsha Walia, Executive Director of the BC Civil Liberties Association; Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs; Molly Wickham Sleydo', Wet'suwet'en Gidimt'en Clan Spokesperson; Delee Alexis Nikal, Wet'suwet'en Gidemt'en Clan, one of the complainants to the CRCC; Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond Akikwe, Director of the University of British Columbia's (UBC) Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre and Professor at UBC's Allard School of Law; David Suzuki, Cofounder of the David Suzuki Foundation; and Ta'Kaiya Blaney of Indigenous Youth for Wet'suwet'en.

CRCC Chairperson Lahaie's nine-page letter was summarized by Harsha Walia. She reported that the chairperson has decided not to initiate a public interest investigation at this time, because similar concerns have already been raised with the RCMP about a 2013 case that is similar to what is happening on the Wet'suwet'en territory. Walia reported that the Chairperson provided a summary of the findings and recommendations on a range of issues regarding enforcement of injunctions, use of arrest powers, the role of RCMP in policing Indigenous land defenders, access restrictions, exclusion zones and stop checks that are contained in an interim, not yet public, report regarding the RCMP's response to anti-shale gas land defenders in Kent County, New Brunswick in 2013. This interim report, which includes 37 findings, has not been made public by the CRCC and is waiting for a response from the RCMP Commissioner, who has had the report since March 2019. 

Among the CRCC's findings in the New Brunswick case are that there was no legal authority to require passengers to produce identification at stop checks, that the RCMP has no legal authority to conduct stop checks for the purposes of information gathering, that the concern for public safety that is stated is related to unconfirmed information that is not sufficient to justify an RCMP roadblock, that routine searches of vehicles and individuals conducted by RCMP were not authorized by law, and that a "buffer zone" or "exclusion zones" are only justifiable in specific limited circumstances and with the least interference to individual liberties. The CRCC found that certain arrests were made based on misinterpretations of the conditions of the injunction and that RCMP officers must have detailed and accurate interpretations of injunctions. 

Walia, in concluding her remarks raised the concern that "what is incredibly disturbing about this letter from the Chairperson is that again the RCMP has been aware of these very same issues since March 2019." The events in New Brunswick happened in 2013, so for seven years the people in New Brunswick who filed the complaints have had no response and still do not have access to the report because it is not yet public. The letter can be found here

The entire press conference can be seen here.

The speakers addressed the issues involved in relations between police and First Nations, historically and today in the case of the Wet'suwet'en, and called upon the federal and provincial leaders to end the police occupation and negotiate with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary leaders.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip paid tribute to the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and matriarchs and to the Indigenous youth across Turtle Island for standing in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en who have "forcefully spoken out against the paramilitary tactics of the RCMP, the occupation forces that are taking place in Wet'suwet'en territory, and the shameful and disgusting fact that the RCMP actions are very mercenary in nature, acting on behalf of Coastal GasLink as opposed to protecting the broad interests of all parties involved in these very very volatile issues."

He said, "We are at a crossroads in this country in regard to what this all represents and we need to move out of the colonial, neo-colonial shadow of the notion of exploiting the land and commodifying the land as opposed to caretaking and stewardship of this beautiful place that we describe as Canada and British Columbia. We need to understand that the UN Declaration [on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples] is of utmost importance for what it represents, to bring forward Indigenous law and Indigenous legal institutions to stand alongside the other systems of law that exist in this country. It is not a case of colonial law superseding Indigenous law or Indigenous institutions. Indigenous law is enshrined in our Indigenous languages, enshrined in our culture and traditions. It's taught to our children at the very youngest age and that is our responsibilities to Mother Earth, to the land and the waters, and Indigenous people are simply carrying out our own laws and our own traditions as we are taught by our knowledge keepers. And to have those activities criminalized by governments and by the RCMP and suffer the brutal repression that we have witnessed time and time again in this country is absolutely unacceptable." Phillip concluded, "We call on the governments, and I agree with Jody Wilson-Raybould where she suggested that Prime Minister Trudeau hop on a plane, pick up Premier Horgan and go to Smithers and meet with the hereditary leaders. This is going to be very protracted volatile intense days ahead."

In their remarks and in response to questions from the press, speakers stressed two things. One is the necessity to put an end to the unlawful activities of the RCMP. The second is the removal of RCMP and Coastal GasLink from Wet'suwet'en territory as the necessary condition for Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Horgan to respectfully meet with their counterparts, the Wet'suwet'en hereditary leaders, in order to arrive at a peaceful resolution of the conflict based on respecting Indigenous rights.

(Photo: UBCIC)

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Actions Continue Across the Country Demanding  Rights and Title of Wet'suwet'en Be Respected

During the past week, along with the continuing blockades of transportation infrastructure in locations across the country, rallies and marches took place in a number of cities and towns. These included large marches in Vancouver and at the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls. Film showings, concerts and other fundraisers and events were also organized to support the Wet'suwet'en land defenders. 

In Ottawa and Toronto marches were organized on Ontario's Family Day holiday. Thousand poured into the streets of Toronto for the Family Day march to voice their demands that the Canadian government and Coastal GasLink must get off Wet'suwet'en lands and that new relations must be established with the Indigenous peoples that respect their jurisdiction and rights. For two hours the march made it way through the streets of the downtown, closing several major intersections along the way, before ending at Queen's Park.

Vancouver, BC

Powell River, BC  

Chase, BC

Edmonton, AB

Winnipeg, MB

Niagara Falls, ON

Windsor, ON

Thousand Islands Bridge, ON

Ottawa, ON  

Montreal, QC

St. Lambert, QC

Family Day March in Toronto

(Photos: TMLW, EFTO, Climate 604, N. Knight, A Dub Lion, Dylana, Calgary for Wet'suwet'en, R. Brunell, Daanis, S. Rotz, Montreal Wet'suwet'en Solidarity, C. Farrugia )

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Widescale Support of Unions and
Other Organizations for Wet'suwet'en Demands

TML Weekly is posting below excerpts from letters and media releases of various unions and organizations across Canada who are publicly taking stands in support of the struggle of the Wet'suwet'en people.

Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW)

[...] CUPW condemns the injunction against Unist'ot'en Camp and stands in solidarity with the Indigenous re-occupation of unceded Wet'suwet'en lands in northern British Columbia against Coastal Gaslink Pipeline. We call on the Government of British Columbia to respect Indigenous title and revoke permits for development. We call on the federal government to pull funding from the single largest private investment in Canadian history, and instead respect a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples and real action on climate change [...]

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

[...] "Canadians were shocked to see the aggressive action of heavily armed police at the Unist'ot'en camp as they removed peaceful protestors and blocked access to journalists," says Mark Hancock, National President of CUPE. "We would never accept this kind of behaviour towards striking workers on a picket line. Protest is a fundamental right, and the Wet'suwet'en people have a right to protect their unceded territory."

The five clans of the Wet'suwet'en have never signed a treaty with Canada and have never ceded their territory in central British Columbia. For almost a decade, the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs have maintained several checkpoints and camps to halt any development in their territories from proceeding without their consent. Last week, heavily armed police began dismantling these checkpoints, and forcefully removed peaceful land defenders.

"If the Prime Minister and his government are truly committed to reconciliation, to the UN Declaration [on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)], and to building a better relationship with Indigenous peoples, the time and place to prove it is right here and right now," says Charles Fleury, National Secretary Treasurer of CUPE.

National Farmers Union 

The National Farmers Union (NFU) stands in solidarity with Indigenous land protectors. We support initiatives by Indigenous People including the Unist'ot'en and Wet'suwet'en to resist resource extraction and energy projects that disrupt their Indigenous food and governance systems and interfere with the health of their lands, territories, and communities.

The NFU supports the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and urges the Canadian government to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action.

Coastal GasLink is attempting to force construction of a liquid natural gas pipeline through unceded Wet'suwet'en territory. On February 6, 2020 the RCMP entered the territory and began arresting members of the Wet'suwet'en, forcibly removing land defenders, dismantling the barricades set up to protect their territory, and denying journalists access to witness and record the RCMP's activities.

These actions, carried out with support of the BC and federal governments, are clearly in violation of Canada's commitments to reconciliation, against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) which Canada formally adopted in 2016, and in contravention of the Supreme Court of Canada's 1997 Delgamuukw Gisday'wa decision recognizing that 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. We agree with and support the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs' governance systems and their inherent right to govern their territory through the Unist'ot'en camp and the Gidimt'en checkpoint [...]

The decisions directing the RCMP to enter Wet'suwet'en territory and remove its defenders using force, and denying journalists access to witness their actions are condemned by Canadians from coast to coast to coast. In accordance with UNDRIP and our ongoing commitment to act in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples, we must inform ourselves and deepen our understanding of Indigenous sovereignty. We therefore denounce the repression of peaceful protesters, including Indigenous land protectors, and express our support for the rights of people to engage in acts of civil disobedience in defence of the preservation of water, air, land and wildlife for future generations.

National Union of Public and General Employees

The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) stands in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en land defenders and continues to call for a peaceful resolution to the conflict [...]

The labour movement is no stranger to seeing governments invoke the law to suppress rights, and so we stand in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en land defenders in their struggle [...]

As a family of unions committed to the full implementation of the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as well as, the Calls for Justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, NUPGE is deeply troubled by the current and ongoing events on Wet'suwet'en territory, including the use of exclusion zones, forceful removal of land defenders, and threats to journalists [...]

The situation is especially shocking considering BC became the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass legislation implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in November 2019.

Now is a critical moment. How governments, police, and people across Canada respond to this situation will not only test whether their commitment to reconciliation is genuine, but it will impact Indigenous and non Indigenous communities and our environment for generations to come.

Further escalations threaten to unravel progress towards reconciliation. We urge the RCMP to withdraw and ask for all parties to resume talks to reach a negotiated settlement.

Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC)

Last week, RCMP officers arrested and detained several Wet'suwet'en people on their unceded territory while they were defending their land from a major pipeline development. The Unist'ot'en community has had a camp set up since 2009 to block TransCanada Corp from building the Coastal GasLink pipeline [...]

PSAC's National Indigenous Peoples' Circle Representatives have been working to protect and defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and abroad for a number of years. We condemn the injunction and arrest of those at Unist'ot'en Camp. We call on the provincial and federal governments to respect a nation-to-nation relationship with hereditary leadership at Unist'ot'en [...]

We ask those in the labour movement to stand in solidarity with the defenders at Unist'ot'en Camp with the goal of defeating this injunction and re-establishing the occupation of the Unist'ot'en's healing camp.

United Steelworkers

From letter to Prime Minister Trudeau: [...] Our union's members include thousands of Canadians who work in the rail sector, including members of Indigenous ancestry, who work hard every day to support their families, who support Indigenous rights and who now face uncertainty and potential job losses. We also have thousands of members whose jobs depend on commodity supply chains that rely on the Canadian railway transportation network [...]

In our view, the root cause of this current crisis is that successive governments in Canada have repeatedly ignored their responsibilities on reconciliation with Indigenous nations and peoples. For years federal governments have paid lip service to dialogue and reconciliation, but have failed to take the profound and meaningful action that is required to achieve true reconciliation [...]

This abject failure is reflected in the current protests and rail blockades across Canada and as a result, we are writing to ask you to take personal responsibility for this file and meet with all stakeholders to defuse the tensions in this conflict, find a resolution and demonstrate a genuine commitment to reconciliation. The Canadian economy, and the livelihoods of many of our members, depends on the Canadian railway system and we urge you to intervene in this dispute.

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE)

As a trade union, the IATSE supports the full implementation of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the recommendations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and calls for a peaceful resolution to the conflict on Wet'suwet'en territory. We are concerned with events occurring on Wet'suwet'en territory, including the use of exclusion zones, forceful removal of land defenders, and threats to journalists. Progress toward reconciliation could be unravelled if these escalations continue. We therefore urge the RCMP to withdraw and ask for all parties to resume talks to reach a negotiated settlement.

British Columbia Federation of Labour

[... The] BC Federation of Labour continues to support a negotiated settlement to this dispute and urgently calls for renewed negotiations to find a mutual solution in the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Ontario Federation of Labour

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) affirms its solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en nation, as they steadfastly defend their territories, and with those who are actively supporting Indigenous sovereignty through protests and blockades across Ontario and Canada.

The recent arrests of land defenders is yet another shameful example of Canada's failure to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. The Wet'suwet'en nation has the inherent right to self determination, which includes the right to defend their lands. The OFL encourages the RCMP, Coastal Gaslink, and all levels of government to engage in true reconciliation -- not just through words, but in meaningful actions that reflect and create a strong nation-to-nation relationship [...]

Government actions that continue to perpetuate Canada's ongoing legacy of colonialism and cultural genocide must stop.

Nova Scotia Federation of Labour 

Members of the RCMP arrested seven individuals outside the Unist'ot'en healing centre Monday [February 10] during the fifth day of enforcing a court ordered injunction against members of the Wet'suwe'ten and their supporters blocking access to work sites for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Arresting land defenders, [and] their supporters and raiding their camps is not the answer when people work to defend their rights in Canada. People have the right to peaceful protest [...]

The Wet'suwet'en have never ceded their land. And under Wet'suwet'en law, hereditary chiefs of five clans have authority over the nation's 22,000 square kilometres of unceded territory. The hereditary chiefs have repeatedly opposed Coastal GasLink.

The labour movement is no stranger to seeing governments invoke laws to suppress workers' rights. The Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs issued an eviction notice to Coastal GasLink for violating Wet'suwet'en trespassing laws, but it seems they are not entitled to the same rights as corporations.

The Wet'suwet'en people have inherent Indigenous rights and title that must be recognized and respected. Therefore, we stand in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en land defenders in their struggle and support that all parties find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

BC Teachers' Federation

The BC Teachers' Federation reaffirms our solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en nation. As a union committed to the Truth and Reconciliation's Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we call on the governments of BC and Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Coastal GasLink Pipeline to respect the position taken by the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs. They are insisting upon respect for Indigenous sovereignty as they have never ceded their jurisdiction to the lands they have governed and have been stewards of for millennia. All five clans of the Wet'suwet'en nation have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals. Forcibly removing peaceful land defenders from their traditional unceded lands is in violation of the UN Declaration [...]

Our provincial government recently passed a bill that states they will honour the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Actions speak louder than empty promises that First Peoples have faced for decades. If the leaders of our province and country are truly committed to reconciliation and honouring the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, then immediate action is required. Elected leaders must act now by negotiating with the respected leaders of the Wet'suwet'en nation who hold the inherent right to self-determination, including the right to defend their lands [...]

The 45,000 members of the BC Teachers' Federation stand in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en peoples and demand that the government of BC and Canada uphold their responsibilities laid out in the Supreme Court Delgamuukw Gisday'wa decision of 1997. We stand as witnesses at this historic moment when our governments must make a choice to uphold this court decision or continue the ongoing legacy of colonization.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF)

[...] We disagree with government actions that would limit the ability of citizens to exercise their right to free and peaceful assembly. We call on the federal and provincial governments to respect and uphold the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and recognize and respect Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination. Furthermore, the federal and provincial governments should respect the Supreme Court of Canada’s 1997 ruling, Delgamuukw vs. British Columbia, which found Aboriginal title could not be extinguished and established that Wet'suwet'en never relinquished title to their territories.

Therefore, the 60,000 members of OSSTF/FEESO stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en peoples. OSSTF/FEESO calls on all parties to respect the position taken by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, respect Indigenous sovereignty, and acknowledge and that they have never ceded their jurisdiction to the lands they have governed and have been stewards of for generations. Forcibly removing peaceful land defenders from their traditional unceded lands is a violation of the UN Declaration.

BC Government and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU)

The BCGEU has been closely monitoring the developing situation at the Unist'ot'en camp. As a trade union committed to supporting the full implementation of the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the recommendations of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we are concerned that police action has been used to suppress the rights of both peaceful protesters and the media.

We urge the RCMP, Coastal Gaslink and the provincial government to work with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary leadership and the elected council to resolve the current dispute in the spirit of the principles articulated in those documents.

The Wet'suwet'en people have inherent Indigenous rights and title that must be recognized and respected. What happens at the Unist'ot'en camp could have lasting repercussions for generations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous British Columbians.

Emily Carr University Faculty Association (Vancouver)

[...] The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recently called for Canada to immediately halt the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the Site C Dam, and the Trans Mountain Pipeline because these projects have not received the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the Indigenous peoples whose lands they would pollute and destroy. Morally and environmentally in this time of accelerating climate destabilization, we cannot afford these projects. As such, we ask that colonial governments and their police forces de-escalate and abide by Wet'suwet'en law by respecting the decisions that have been made by the hereditary chiefs whose Indigenous rights must not be violated through police brutality or colonial force.

Ontario College of Arts and Design (OCAD)
University Faculty Association

The OCAD University Faculty Association stands in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and activists at the Unist'ot'en Camp defending their territory and the environment [...]

We denounce the militarized actions by the RCMP to use violence and forcibly remove peaceful land defenders from Wet'suwet'en territory. This is unceded land and has been recognized as such by a 1997 Supreme Court decision that affirmed Wet'suwet'en rights to their land. International law and the Royal Proclamation of 1763 affirm the fact that Canada has no legal jurisdiction on unceded territories. The hereditary clan chiefs, leaders under the traditional form of governance, are in opposition to the construction of the Coastal Gas Pipeline, that would carry fracked gas through unceded Wet'suwet'en land.

In the past few days Canadians have witnessed the RCMP use tactics not dissimilar to those used in a police state. An extra-judicial 'exclusion zone' was declared within which media were denied press freedoms to document police actions. The images that have come through the frontlines are disturbing. Unarmed matriarchs violently arrested, some in the midst of carrying out ceremony. RCMP using attack dogs and storm trooper artillery to wrestle Indigenous land defenders to the ground. This is not what reconciliation looks like.

We call upon the federal and provincial government and the RCMP to honour the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [...] an international document that gives Indigenous people the right to control resource projects on their land. Free and prior consent is needed. Under Wet'suwet'en law all five clans have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals. The forcible removal and construction of the Coastal Gas Pipeline is a violation of international, Canadian and Wet'suwet'en law.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was recently elected on a promise to build new relations with Indigenous First Nations. Reconciliation does not take place under the barrel of a gun. BC Premier John Horgan has said he believes 'positive reconciliation initiative' is possible -- the actions of the government and RCMP counter this sentiment.

We thank the Wet'suwet'en people who are standing up for all of us and have been honouring the land for millennia.

Greater Victoria Teachers' Association (GVTA)

The GVTA affirms the rights of the Wet'suwet'en to determine their own processes of governance and to exert sovereignty on their unceded traditional territory. We urge Premier Horgan to meet with the hereditary chiefs and we call on the RCMP to immediately stand down on Wet'suwet'en territory.

The GVTA supports those protesting peacefully to defend the Wet'suwet'en, and denounce police action against these protesters.

(Photo: Climate 604)

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Proposal to Replace Blockaded Trains with Trucks Is an Attempt to Embroil Truckers in the Denial of Indigenous Rights: the Answer Is No!

Radio-Canada reports that talks related to the rail blockades organized in support of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, are underway between the Quebec Ministry of Transport (MTQ) and the Quebec Trucking Association (ACQ), which represents the majority of the province's major transportation companies. The MTQ is positing an immediate need to transport goods deemed essential and wants truckers to break the effectiveness of the blockades.

Radio-Canada says the talks are focused on logistics and the availability of trucks and drivers and quotes ACQ President Marc Cadieux as saying, "I had discussions with certain carriers and yes, I'm being told that there have been requests [...] There are costs associated with the reorganization of transportation logistics. It requires unusual moves."

The MTQ has raised concerns about the transportation of propane in a hysterical fashion and asked carriers if they have suitable trucks, equipment and enough drivers available for long hauls throughout Quebec, Ontario and even the United States.

The request from the MTQ to the ACQ has caused discussion amongst truckers who, like the Wet'suwet'en, demand a say in how life unfolds. The MTQ and the ACQ regard the thousands of truckers working in Quebec as a mere means of production available to the monopolies to do their bidding under all conditions and circumstances, who must jump to attention when summoned. Many truckers are saying, hold on a second; we have rights, as do all people. We have the right to conscience, to think and to decide for ourselves a course of action, and to speak out on the issues at hand and give our consent or not.

At no point does it occur to the government authorities and financial oligarchy that truckers may very well support the cause of the Wet'suwet'en and say No! to this request. Working people have common cause with the Indigenous peoples and a social responsibility to demand that the situation be resolved on the basis of the recognition of the rights and the sovereignty of the Wet'suwet'en people.

The MTQ and the ACQ have always collaborated in smashing the standards and regulations that benefit truckers. The ACQ, as a representative of large transportation companies, has consistently opposed the creation of an independent truckers' organization to represent workers' interests. Now the ruling circles want truckers to work to secure the transportation of goods held up by the blockades and in doing so undermine the cause of the Indigenous peoples for justice and new anti-colonial nation-to-nation relations. A growing number of truckers are opposed to capitulating to the ruling elite. They are speaking out in their workplaces and on social media. Many find despicable the government's request that the trucking industry rescue the financial oligarchy in its battle against the rights of the Wet'suwet'en.

Truckers have long been dissatisfied with their working conditions and have been waging their own struggle in defence of their rights, particularly since the deregulation of the industry began in 1990. Many truckers are even saying that they themselves should block the roads in support of the Wet'suwet'en and show their strength vis-à-vis the economy.

Many truckers consider the demand of the MTQ and the ACQ insulting, an affront to their dignity, cooked up behind their backs without their consent, similar in some ways to forcing a pipeline through Wet'suwet'en territory without their consent. The situation reinforces their resolve to build their own organization to defend their interests as a collective of truckers with the ability to speak out in their own name, rather than having others speak on their behalf.

Truckers, amongst themselves and on social media, are saying No! to the demand of the ACQ and MTQ. They are sending a clear message, "No Consent," to Canada's Minister of Transport Marc Garneau, Quebec's Minister of Transport François Bonnardel, and to the President of the ACQ. Truckers are telling them that they are unwilling to offer their capacity to work to perpetuate the denial of the rights of the Wet'suwet'en and the use of state-organized colonial violence against Indigenous peoples and their supporters and against working people, such as is being used against workers at Federated Co-operatives Limited in Regina.

The refusal of the ruling elite to end the Canadian colonial order affects us all. Let us together seize this occasion to express our solidarity with all those who are fighting for their rights in Canada and thereby demonstrate in practice our determination to do the same for ourselves.

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Quebec Government Announces "Grand Alliance"
with Cree While Calling for Police Intervention
to End Blockades

With much fanfare, while at the same time calling for a Canada-wide police intervention to dismantle the various railway blockades set up in support of the Wet'suwet'en, the Quebec government has announced a "Grand Alliance" with Cree Grand Chief Abel Bosum. The tentative agreement includes extending the building 700 km of new railway from Matagami (located about 200 km south of James Bay) to Whapmagoostui on the eastern shore of Hudson's Bay, where a deep-water port is to be built; the electrification of industrial projects, training of local manpower and mining projects for strategic minerals such as lithium. Premier François Legault stated that the "win-win" partnership will allow both nations -- the Cree nation and the Quebec nation -- to grow and that he hoped that the Grand Alliance will serve as a "model" for other Indigenous communities.

Ironically, this announcement comes when some members of the Cree community, such as Paul Dixon, from Waswanipi, North of Val-d'Or, and Director of the Cree Trappers Association, are speaking out about the disappearance of caribou and other animals. Dixon blames the clearcutting of black spruce and mining in that region and named one company in particular, Canadian Malartic. He stated that the James Bay hydroelectric project, the Phase I of which began in the 1970s, had a tremendous social and economic impact on the Cree Nation, and that generations of Cree trappers had never wanted their hunting to stop or to see their traps broken. He said that most of the families and members of the community are opposed to mining industries and that for him, the destruction of the natural environment of the Cree nation is a crime.

As for James Bay, the political elite conveniently forget that work on the "project of the century" was announced and actually began without even a mention of the Cree or Inuit it would directly affect and on whose ancestral lands the project was being built. The First Peoples had to defend themselves through the courts to force the political and economic elites of the time to admit that they had not consulted the people living on those lands.

As for Legault's calls to resolve the "railway crisis," he claims to be thinking of those who have lost or will lose their jobs and that, though it is important to listen to the Indigenous nations, "we must also listen to Quebeckers and Canadians who are suffering at this time." Truly shameless statements coming from a Premier whose callous indifference to the demands of the public sector workers and the open efforts by the Quebec government to further attack their already dire working conditions and the shameful situation in health and education in Quebec are clear indications that the suffering of the people is not their concern. If those political and economic elites truly want Prime Minister Trudeau to "solve the crisis," then they must insist that the RCMP and Coastal GasLink withdraw from Wet'suwet'en territories and that Wet'suwet'en rights, and national and international law be respected.

These efforts to divide the people on the basis of sophistry must not succeed. The lines are clearly drawn. Either we open the path to progress or we defend the colonialist status quo. We must stand with the Wet'suwet'en!

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At the Kahnawà:ke Blockade

On February 21, representatives of the Workers' Centre of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) went to Kahnawà:ke to support the Mohawk people who have set up a barricade on the Candiac railway line on Montreal's South Shore. The barricade has been in place since the RCMP entered Wet'suwet'en territory to dismantle their camp, through which the Wet'suwet'en refused access to their land to Coastal GasLink, which wants to run a pipeline through it. They offered food as gifts to those present, as well as the February 15 issue of TML Weekly, which deals extensively with the issue. A spirited political discussion ensued with the Mohawk community at the barricade. The Workers' Centre stated that the workers and people of Quebec and Canada stand firmly with the Indigenous peoples and also want an end to the Canadian colonial order; that they reject the fact that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault are speaking in their name; and that British institutions have been imposed on us all to ensure that decisions are made without the consent of the peoples and nations that make up Canada.

The representatives of the Workers' Centre also stated that above all else, these same institutions block all forms of fraternal relations between the people of Quebec and the Indigenous peoples. These words were very well received, especially in light of various forces calling themselves nationalists, which are demanding police intervention to end the barricades. The discussion, by contrast, emphasized the need for and importance of new human relations that will create a situation whereby the recognition and affirmation of the rights of all become the essential element in solving the problems we face and will result in the renewal of the constitutional arrangements.

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