Phony Characterization of Brutal RCMP Raid
as a “Rescue Mission”
– Pauline Easton –
The RCMP falsely characterized their raid on the Wet’suwet’en four days after the fact as a “rescue mission” to protect the workers. What a farce! It is the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs who are upholding the law and who have shown concern for the workers. Hereditary Dinï’ ze’ (Chief) Woos expressed regret that workers are stuck in the camps behind the blockades. He stated, “I want to mention to our local non-Wet’suwet’en members that we’re sorry you ended up in the middle of this … But I must say that we gave ample notice to [Coastal GasLink] that we were going to act on this.”
Workers were given eight hours to evacuate on November 14 and Chief Woos granted a two-hour extension for the estimated 500 individuals housed at Coastal GasLink’s two remote work camps. However, a post from the land defenders at Gidimt’en Camp noted: “Coastal GasLink did NOT inform their workers of the eight-hour peaceful evacuation window, ordered by the Wet’suwet’en … instead electing to use and endanger their own workers as pawns for the sake of corporate profits.”
Workers have also been on the receiving end of threats and violence at the hands of the police forces. Despite this, on November 18, prior to the raid, Chief Superintendent John Brewer, of the Community-Industry Response Group noted: “Our primary focus is on everyone’s safety, particularly the camp workers, who are nearing the end of their essential supplies. We were hoping that a solution would be reached without the need for police enforcement, however, it has become very clear to us that our discretionary period has come to an end and the RCMP must now enforce the orders given by the BC Supreme Court on December 31, 2019.” They said, “We are now mobilizing our resources for a rescue mission.”
On November 15, BC Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth had stated: “Blockades have now been established by project opponents in violation of the current court injunction. Obstructions on the roads have effectively cut off safe access, support and security for more than 500 workers. Our government is concerned about the health, safety and well-being of those workers as the obstructions on the roads prevent access in and out of the worksites. The right to protest does not extend to criminal actions.”
What cowards the BC NDP government have turned out to be. Why don’t they speak the truth that the courts are used to serve narrow private interests through the use of injunctions. Why don’t they speak the truth that injunctions are sanctioning what is illegal, which is then paraded as legal and used to arrest people, abuse elders and dishonour the matriarchs, who are traditional spokespeople, backed by the people’s peacekeepers. The BC government should apply the standard of what is legal to its own institutions, beginning with decisions of the cabinets, legislatures and courts, which rule above the people and not in their interests. The government of BC is duty-bound to recognize and honour the application of Wet’suwet’en law on their unceded territory. This is the bottom line.
All out to condemn RCMP interference and violence in the pathetic name of a rescue mission. Everyone knows that when Indigenous peoples and workers stand up for their rights, their just actions are turned into a matter of “law and order” and criminalized.