RCMP and Coastal GasLink deny conspiring to harass and intimidate Wet’suwet’en land defenders opposed to fracked gas pipeline
Photo: RCMP harassment on Wet’suwet’en territory. Photo by Gidimt’en Checkpoint/Twitter.
In June 2022, CBC reported: “[Wet’suwet’en land defenders Janet Williams, Lawrence Bazil and Molly Wickham/Sleydo’] are suing the RCMP and Coastal GasLink for alleged harassment they claim to have suffered at the hands of police and private security overstepping the boundaries of an injunction guaranteeing the construction of a controversial pipeline.”
The civil claim filed in the British Columbia Supreme Court says they have been subjected to “relentless campaign of harassment and intimidation”.
The lawsuit can be read in full here.
It also says the interlocutory injunction granted by the court in December 2019 protects access to the Morice Forest Service Road, but that it does not allow the RCMP to stop Wet’suwet’en people from “using, occupying and residing on their land.”
And it says that Forsythe Security, owned by Forsythe Investments ULC and hired by Coastal GasLink, routinely shares information, video footage and pictures with the RCMP in a joint effort to target the plaintiffs and visitors to the sites.
The Terrace Standard also notes: “The claim alleges members of the RCMP’s Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG), a special squad sent regularly to locations where there is conflict over land use, visited the checkpoint and village approximately 269 times between the beginning of March and the end of May.”
The lawsuit specifies: “The true reason for the C-IRG campaign is to force or encourage the Plaintiffs and others to leave the Gidimt’en Checkpoint and Lamprey Village, to abandon their ancestral territory and cultural practices, and to permit CGL to advance the Pipeline Project unencumbered and without oversight or monitoring by the people on whose traditional territory the Pipeline Project is being built.”
Sleydo’ says: “There’s quite a stark contrast from enforcing an injunction and being on the territory for a specific legal reason and engaging in the kinds of behaviour that they have 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the last over three months now. We’re seeking damages from all of these companies for the duress and the psychological harm and the infringement of our right to be on our territory and engage in cultural practices.”
And she has highlighted: “On multiple occasions, I have witnessed the RCMP on the ground take direction from Coastal GasLink workers. Their relationship is so close and intertwined that it’s hard to distinguish roles.”
Now, more than six months after the filing of the lawsuit on June 22, 2022, CBC reports: “The RCMP, Coastal GasLink and Forsythe Security, named as defendants in a lawsuit three Wet’suwet’en members launched last June, all deny the allegations.”
That article adds: “The latest defence filing to the lawsuit comes from B.C.’s public safety minister [Mike Farnworth], the provincial politician in charge of policing, who is being represented by a Justice Canada lawyer because the claim involves the Mounties.”
This most recent news article by CBC reporter Brett Forester can be read at RCMP, Coastal GasLink deny conspiring to intimidate, harass Wet’suwet’en members.
The Yintahaccess.com statement on the civil claim is here.
Beginning in December 2019, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has repeatedly called on the RCMP and private security to leave Wet’suwet’en territory. Amnesty International has also highlighted this demand.