Canada “working hard” at COP27, while RCMP armoured vehicle ready to enforce fracked gas pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory

Published by Brent Patterson on

In contrast to Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault’s tweet that “Canada is working hard to achieve real progress with all parties at #COP27”, this tweet shows a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) armoured vehicle on Wet’suwet’en territory.

The Delgamuukw v. British Columbia decision by the Supreme Court of Canada on December 11, 1997, recognized Indigenous rights to their ancestral territories.

The RCMP armoured vehicle is on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia despite the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination resolution that calls on Canada “to guarantee that no force will be used against Secwepemc and Wet’suwet’en peoples and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and associated security and policing services will be withdrawn from their traditional lands.”

That resolution was issued on December 13, 2019, the same year as the first RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory. There was another raid in February 2020, and a third on November 18-19, 2021, just days after COP26 concluded in Glasgow.

The RCMP has spent more than $25 million on its presence on Wet’suwet’en territory since January 2019. The costs of RCMP policing are shared, with provinces and territories paying 70% of the costs and the federal government paying 30%. The federal Minister of Public Safety Marco Mendicino is responsible for responsible for the RCMP.

It is also notable that John Stackhouse, a Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) vice-president, is part of Canada’s official delegation at COP27.

Stand.earth has documented: “RBC is among top commercial banks providing the CGL project with working capital, including CAD $275 million in project finance, a co-financed $6.5 billion loan, a $40 million corporate loan, and $200 million in co-financed working capital – while acting as financial advisor for the pipeline.”

Decolonial Solidarity recently projected this video on the side of an RBC branch in Ottawa of the RCMP using an axe and chainsaw to tear down the door of a cabin on Wet’suwet’en territory on November 19, 2021, and arrest land defenders and two journalists.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline has also been directly financed by Export Development Canada, an export credit agency wholly owned by the Government of Canada. The Board of EDC reports to Parliament through the Minister for International Trade, Mary Ng. In May 2020, this federal government body lent up to $500 million to build the Coastal GasLink pipeline after a “rigorous due diligence review.”

The pipeline is being constructed to transported fracked gas from north-eastern British Columbia to the LNG Canada export terminal near Kitimat. After investors granted their approval for the $40 billion project in October 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented: “Today is a good day.”

The terminal itself will add nearly four million tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has also reported: “Instead of reducing oil and gas emissions from 2007 levels, LNG Canada will increase the sector’s emissions by 24 per cent in 2030, 54 per cent in 2040 and 49 per cent in 2050.”

It has also been calculated that the Coastal GasLink pipeline could produce 125 million metric tons of CO2 pollution annually.

As such, it can be argued that the Wet’suwet’en land defenders and allies criminalized for their resistance to this pipeline should be, as the UN Human Rights Council has generally said of environmental human rights defenders, “ensured a safe and enabling environment to undertake their work free from hindrance and insecurity, in recognition of their important role in supporting States to fulfil their obligations under the Paris Agreement” to limit global average temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

We continue to follow all of this with concern.

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