PBI-Canada supports the call for the RCMP’s Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) to be abolished

Published by Brent Patterson on

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“We want to live free on our lands, without the constant threat of violence by C-IRG, who are illegally occupying Gidimt’en territory.” – land defender Sleydo’

Photo: Still from footage by Michael Toledano.

On November 23, 2021, Wet’suwet’en land defender Sleydo’ emerged from four days in police custody following the RCMP raid on her territory that enabled the continued construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline without free, prior and informed consent.

She said: “C-IRG and the RCMP need to be abolished. Anybody who is not into prison abolition should be after this experience that we’ve had.”

A year later, on November 24, 2022, the BC Federation of Labour unanimously passed a resolution calling for the C-IRG to be disbanded.

What is the C-IRG?

According to the RCMP: “The Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) was created in 2017 to provide strategic oversight addressing energy industry incidents and related public order, national security and crime issues.”

The RCMP adds: “The C-IRG uses a measured approach in facilitating the peaceful resolution of public disorder issues. They proactively engage all stakeholders through open communication and meaningful dialogue.”

In contrast, Michael Toledano, a journalist arrested by the RCMP during their raid on the territory in November 2021, has described them as “the specialized RCMP unit that protects resource extraction in BC.”

Pam Palmater has also described it as “the RCMP’s special brand of private security for the extractive industry.”

Gidimt’en camp media coordinator Jennifer Wickham has commented: “RCMP officers volunteer and request to be on this [C-IRG] team – so we get the gung-ho guys, who have specially requested to come out there and harass us.”

And in this video, Sleydo’s says: “The RCMP, the private mercenaries for industry and governments, the Community-Industry Response Group.”

This year there have been several articles on the C-IRG including: The C-IRG: the resource extraction industry’s best ally (by Molly Murphy and Research for the Front Lines in Briarpatch magazine), Behind the Thin Blue Line: Meet a secretive arm of the RCMP in B.C. (by Brett Forester for APTN), One-on-one with the leader of a special RCMP unit tasked with policing opposition to industrial projects in B.C. (by Matt Simmons in The Narwhal), and Officer quits RCMP task force over concerns about Fairy Creek enforcement (by Rochelle Baker in the National Observer).

Last year, we wrote What do we know about the RCMP’s resource extraction protection unit? (by Brent Patterson in rabble.ca).

This coming year, PBI-Canada will be supporting the call for the C-IRG to be abolished.

We will be doing so by: consulting with allies that share this objective, organizing webinars to build public awareness and support for this call, and providing ways in which individuals can voice their opposition to the C-IRG.

Stay tuned for more in early-2023!

Video: C-IRG member Staff Sergeant Jason Charney drains water tanks on Wet’suwet’en territory, October 2021.

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