Jan 14, 2019

CUPE BC statement on RCMP actions at Unist’ot’en camp

CUPE BC today issued the following statement regarding last week’s events at the Unist’ot’en camp in Wet’suwet’en First Nation territory.

CUPE BC is committed to Reconciliation and the implementation of the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We know that the provincial government shares that commitment, and that the federal government has made statements in support, though its actions have not always embodied the spirit of reconciliation. It is difficult to understand how the RCMP’s military-style enforcement of the court injunction last week could be defensible if there is a true, meaningful commitment to reconciliation.

The RCMP’s actions in removing peaceful Unist’ot’en protestors had the potential to further inflame an already tense situation. While we respect the RCMP’s role in enforcing court decisions, we strongly urge the police to adopt a less confrontational and aggressive posture. We are pleased to see that since the first RCMP action against the protestors, the police have engaged in what appears to be sincere and meaningful dialogue with the hereditary chiefs and their supporters. That dialogue has resulted in today’s agreement to keep the blockade down while police presence will be scaled back.

We strongly condemn any RCMP actions that in any way infringe on the ability of protestors or journalists to communicate. We live in a democracy, and last week’s actions by the RCMP were not reflective of the fundamental freedoms and values of Canadians.

We urge all parties with a stake in this issue to continue meaningful and respectful dialogue.


COPE 491