VICTORIA, B.C. – In response to Amnesty International calling for a halt to the Coastal GasLink pipeline construction in Wet'suwet'en territory, the removal of police and security forces, and an end to the harassment of Wet’suwet’en land defenders, Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens and MLA for Cowichan Valley has issued the following statement:
“For years, the RCMP have criminalized, harassed and violated the rights of Wet'suwet'en people for opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline and fighting to protect their territories and their way of life. A new Amnesty International report confirms this and places the spotlight on the province for these egregious actions.
“The report documents the disproportionate use of force on Indigenous peoples and violations of DRIPA and international human rights law. It reports that some Wet’suwet’en people no longer feel safe on their own territory and have experienced a loss of connection to their ancestral land.
“I visited Wet’suwet’en territory last summer. I was stunned to witness how the province protects industry. I was stunned to see how taxpayer dollars are funding the criminalization and surveillance of Indigenous people on their own territory.
“This government shows its priorities by how it spends money. When Coastal GasLink damaged habitat during pipeline construction they were fined a mere $240,000. Meanwhile, the province has spent more than $37 million criminalizing and surveilling Wet’suwet’en people.
“The province’s criminalization of Wet’suwet’en land defenders is beyond shameful and egregious. The BC NDP claims to care about reconciliation and climate action, yet British Columbians and people across the world watched in horror as the RCMP criminalized peaceful Indigenous land defenders, Elders and women. The province’s protection of this extractive industry and their violence against Indigenous land defenders greatly impacts Wet’suwet’en people’s livelihoods today and for future generations.
“With the Coastal GasLink pipeline, it became clear that the province is willing to protect industry at all costs. I am concerned that these same tactics would be deployed in future resource extractive projects.”
B.C. Green Caucus
+1 250-882-6187 | [email protected]