email to Jagmeet Singh, Federal NDP leader, copied to all BC NDP MLAs and MPs:
Dear Mr Singh,
I was surprised at your social media post regarding the militarisation of the RCMP. You posted the article by The Guardian entitled “Exclusive: Canada police prepared to shoot Indigenous activists, documents show” and commented “Threatening families & “sterilizing the site” are not acceptable “strategies” from our national police force. This is not what justice looks like.”
The Tyee had posted the same article and commented:“The RCMP were prepared to use snipers with shoot-to-kill orders when they launched a raid to remove Indigenous protesters slowing pipeline construction in Wet’suwet’en territory, the Guardian reports.”
When I first saw photos of this invasion I emailed my MLA. Part of her response (January 22 2019) was: “The RCMP enforcement of the court injunction obtained by Coastal GasLink in Wet’suwet’en territory is independent of government, however the Premier has said that he expects the RCMP to conduct themselves with the greatest of care and respect.” Funny, eh?
The irony here is that the whole situation is caused and continued by YOUR provincial namesake party–the BC NDP– even as they take bows to their audience and congratulate themselves for legislating UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples).
How do they deceive themselves that way? “Arm’s length” is the key word. RCMP were assigned by the court granting an injunction to Coastal GasLink (CGL) contractor for LNG Canada wooed by the Horgan NDP government. If that isn’t arm’s length enough for you, email correspondence dated December 11, 2019, from the BC Solicitor General’s office advised me that:
“As the Ministry of Public Safety, we are responsible for setting the objectives, priorities and goals of the Provincial Police Service which is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (BC-RCMP). Decisions on day-to-day deployment of resources, enforcement and response to calls for service are made exclusively by the BC-RCMP or a jurisdiction’s municipal police force. Individual investigations and enforcement decisions occur at arm’s length from government and we cannot interfere with or direct police on such matters.”
People who follow the news, are aware that the RCMP are not impartial as they claim to be and exist to enforce government orders. The Missing and Murdered Women and Girls inquiry stated:
“… many of today’s policing deficiencies are rooted in a legacy of distrust that started decades ago. The RCMP “ensured the forced relocations of Indigenous communities [and] removed children from their families and communities to place them in residential schools,” the report says. It adds that “this historic role of the RCMP has not changed significantly. The RCMP must still enforce present-day discriminatory and oppressive legislation and policies in areas such as child welfare and land and resource disputes.”
Because the correspondence did not mention it, I assume the office of the BC Solicitor General did not bother to set “the objectives, priorities and goals of the Provincial Police Service which is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police” they claim they are responsible for, in this case RCMP enforcing CGL’s injunction on Unist’ot’en land. Guess he didn’t hear about Horgan wanting the RCMP to show “care and respect”. Furthermore, that same BC NDP government is logging Haida Gwaii against the wishes of the Indigenous residents, and attempting to deny Nuchatlaht claims to their land.
Predictably — because much money is involved — the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources has a number of “arms length” agencies that deny Indigenous rights: BC Hydro denying Indigenous rights at the Site C dam, “jade placer mining is occurring in northwest B.C. under a provincial permitting regime that is explicitly opposed by the Tahltan Central Government and its customary laws”, and the Taseko Mine fiasco. Then there is the Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) which set the LNG pipeline route through Unist’ot’en land in the first place. At this writing, OGC has not answered my questions regarding how they failed to notice required archaeological assessments were not submitted and whether they determined the pipeline route in spite of knowledge of Indigenous opposition.
Now, amid the self-congratulation, we hear that “all the work” can begin. It could begin expeditiously by fixing all the travesties linked above but it won’t. In email correspondence dated December 16, 2019, Indigenous Relations Minister Fraser stated: “…the Act does not provide for the ability to veto a decision on resource development projects. The Act will not result in the re-opening of existing permits or certificates or affect current regulatory timelines. The Province retains authority for making decisions in the public interest.”
Read that last sentence again. Why would a government dedicated to its own interpretation of “public interest” and enforcement of same, want the RCMP to not be militarised? In BC, implementation of UNDRIP is just a charade. If the government wants the resources, they will take them, and thus, from the provincial point of view, what’s not to like about militarised RCMP? Especially given the BC government’s $596 million tax break to LNG.
Of course the past decades of discrimination and deprivation enable the BC NDP to look like heroes by offering even a meager handout. As such, the BC NDP still benefit from colonialism.
I see from social media that you are busy pursuing Federal NDP goals. That is an interesting contrast to all the broken promises of the BC NDP. I didn’t vote for you, in part, because I expected the same broken promises from you since you also call yourself NDP. Perhaps you need a party name different from the BC government. Or you could try to convince them to name themselves more accurately. Neo-liberal DecimateBC Party comes to mind.
Good luck. Remember that racism is embedded provincially as well as federally.