Defend Unceded Wet’suwet’en Territory Against the RCMP and the BC NDP

Last week the RCMP raided unceded land to arrest peaceful land defenders. Members of the Wet’suwet’en and neighbouring Gitxsan nations have been camping there at various checkpoints to protect their land against the building of the Coastal Gas Link pipeline.

The pipeline would carry fracked gas from the BC interior to the coast. Fracking has been shown to be damaging to soil and water, and fracked gas creates significant climate emissions. This, at a time when humanity is in a race against time to prevent biodiversity loss and reduce climate emissions to zero.

During the raid, Ricochet journalist Jerome Turner, as well as Amber Bracken and Amanda Follett have been detained repeatedly and put in 60 ft exclusion zones with no wireless access, thereby impeding their abilities to report on the situation. 

Courage Coalition condemns these actions by the RCMP.

The RCMP actions have not only been condemned by Amnesty International, the BC Civil Liberties Union and the Canadian Association of Journalists, they are in direct violation of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) and Indigenous law, as no consent from Indigenous hereditary elders was given to build the pipeline. 

The Wet’suwet’en Nation, like most of the First Nations in BC, has never signed a treaty giving up its Aboriginal title. Several court decisions, including the 1997 Delgamuukw decision, have upheld the right of the traditional title holders, like the Unist’ot’en clan, to fulfill their duty under Wet’suwet’en law to protect the land.

Past NDP governments in BC have gone to great lengths to undermine these rights, responding to panic from industry at the prospect of having to gain consent from Indigenous nations to pursue resource extraction.

Premier John Horgan recently passed a law that was supposed to implement UNDRIP in BC. Despite this, he is now saying that the RCMP are “following the rule of law”.

While Ricochet and other independent media have diligently covered the arrests, mainstream media was slow in covering the story, only doing so when protesters in Regina were nearly run over by a car, and after hearing about media suppression.

Courage Coalition condemns the silence of the corporate media in the face of suppression. There must be freedom for journalists to provide the public with timely reports on RCMP activities.

We applaud progressive politicians like Charlie Angus, Joel Harden, Leah Gazan, Svend Robinson, Bhutila Karpoche, Laurel Collins, Jenny Kwan, and Niki Ashton who have spoken out against the RCMP raid and taken part in solidarity actions.

The decisions of the NDP-led BC government and the federal Liberals violate Canada’s constitution, break the spirit and letter of UNDRIP, and violate Wet’suwet’en law, which is still in effect on their traditional territories. 

These decisions also undermine the faith and enthusiasm of the people in whose names these leaders speak, either as electors, residents, or party members.

As such, we believe:

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must condemn the RCMP’s actions and reverse his stances on all current pipeline projects
  • NDP leader Jagmeet Singh must condemn Premier John Horgan and the provincial NDP’s actions during the RCMP standoff
  • The BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan NDP must reverse their stances on pipelines and condemn the RCMP raid.
  • Lastly, Premier John Horgan must call off the RCMP, respect Wet’suwet’en law and Canada’s constitution and condemn the paramilitary force’s infringement of freedom of the press.

Courage calls on the NDP, Greens, and Liberals to condemn Trump’s Middle-East plan

Canada must not be a partner to violations of international law and the inalienable rights of Palestinians

The Trump administration’s so-called “deal of the century,” presented last week alongside the recently indicted Israeli PM, offers no chance for a just and lasting peace. Rather, Trump and Netanyhu’s plan serves only to further strip Palestinians of their rights and consolidate the colonial takings of Israel over the last five decades.

The plan, drafted without consultation of the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, or Palestinian civil society, entirely favours Israel and its colonial aims. It would grant Israel sovereignty over illegal occupations in the West Bank, which have for decades increasingly robbed Palestinians of their land and resources, in violation of international law and with no redress for the victims or repercussions for the offender . It would also greenlight the Israeli annexation of East-Jerusalem, as well as the Jordan Valley, and the Golan Heights. This plan would lock Palestinians into a series of separate bantustan-like territories connected by segregated bridges and tunnels with no borders outside of Israel’s.

via The Economist “Steal of the Century,” Jan 30, 2020

The plan would also prevent Palestinians from taking any legal actions against either Israel or the United States at any tribunal, and it would force them to dismiss all pending actions, including the War Crimes investigations against Israel currently before the International Criminal Court.

Missing from this plan is any real move to address the question of the rights of Palestinian refugees, one of the largest U.N. recognized refugee populations in the world. U.N. resolution 194, re-affirmed every year since 1949, affirms that Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible.”

Canadian politicians must speak up and support international law. This renegade “peace” proposal is an attempt to enforce subjugation of the Palestinian people’s rights as refugees and human beings with equal rights. The NDP, Greens, and Liberals must voice their support for U.N. resolution 194 within the context of any peace agreement.

Any legitimate deal between Israel and Palestine must guarantee the long denied freedom and dignity of Palestiniansand enshrine the Right of Return for Palestinian refugeess. Anything else is a contribution to the ongoing colonization and to mass violation of international law.

We call on the NDP, Greens, and Liberals to denounce this plan and to defend the right to self determination of Palestinians, including the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. Canadian political leaders must also call for long needed sanctions against Israel in order to end Canada’s long standing economic and political support for decades of illegal military occupation and illegal Israeli settlements.