Action challenges BC Oil and Gas Commission, the agency that permitted the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo by Mike Graeme.

An action in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders was held at the BC Oil and Gas Commission (BCOGC) in Victoria on Lkwungen territory on November 24.

The outreach for the action highlighted:

After many militarized raids, ongoing criminal charges against Indigenous land defenders and supporters, and incessant colonial chatter about reconciliation, the Wet’suwet’en remain steadfast and present on their yintah upholding their system of laws.

We want to signal that colonial institutions who permit the violation of Indigenous lands and laws must be undone for decolonization to be possible, and that we too will continue to renew our relationships and uphold our responsibilities to participate in this undoing.

Specifically, we are bringing this message to the BC Oil and Gas Commission, as the entity permitting Coastal GasLink, and more broadly created by the NDP in 1999 to help corporations speed the rate of destruction.

On the day of the action, Mike Graeme tweeted:

A group of activists supporting Wet’suwet’en sovereignty prevented BC Oil & Gas Commission (BCOGC) staff from getting to work in #yyj this morning. The group says the BCOGC—which streamlines oil & gas permits—is complicit in the invasion of unceded #Wetsuweten lands.

“The BCOGC is currently permitting drilling for the pipeline under the #WedzinKwa, without the consent of Wet’suwet’en people living on their land,” the group says. They add the action was carried out in direct communication with #Wetsuweten land defenders.

“Hereditary #Wetsuweten Chiefs have never consented to the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on their territories,” says the group. The BCOGC was formed 1 year after Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs won the historic 1997 #Delgamuukw case recognizing Wet’suwet’en title.

Despite the historic #Delgamuukw case, TC Energy & settler governmental institutions like the BCOGC have attempted to bypass the legal precedent. “The BC Government and their offices of the BCEAO and BCOGC have chosen to back private industry at all costs,” says the group.

Police arrived on site just before 8 a.m. and threatened to arrest anyone who continued to block the entrances to the BCOGC building. No arrests were made. Activists continued to stand on the premises with banners, and served breakfast on site.

A series of seventeen photos by Graeme of the action can be seen in this Twitter thread.

Seb Bonet, one of the organizers and a member of the PBI-Canada Board of Directors, comments: “There is no path to decolonization that does not go straight through the elimination of the BCOGC and all the violence these bureaucrats are inflicting on Indigenous people.”

For updates on the Wet’suwet’en struggle against the Coastal GasLink pipeline, please see Gidimt’en Checkpoint on Twitter.

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