Letter signed by land defenders and 50+ organizations calling for the abolition of the C-IRG delivered to the Prime Minister’s Office

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Peace Brigades International-Canada helped to organize a mobilization in Ottawa today to help amplify the release of this letter calling for an end to violence against land defenders by the RCMP community-industry response group (C-IRG).

The gathering was held outside the Prime Minister’s Office.

The letter says: “We call on the Province of British Columbia, the provincial Ministry of Public Safety and the Solicitor General, the federal Ministry of Public Safety and Prime Minister’s Office, and RCMP ‘E’ Division to immediately disband the C-IRG.”

It explains: “The Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) was formed by the RCMP in 2017 in response to anticipated Indigenous resistance to industrial resource operations in the province of British Columbia (BC), specifically the Coastal Gaslink and Trans Mountain pipelines. C-IRG’s operations have since expanded past the energy industry to forestry and hydro operations.”

It then adds: “We submit that there is no set of reforms that would make it acceptable for Canada to have a paramilitary force designed specifically to manage the assertion of inherent and constitutionally protected Indigenous rights in the face of unwanted development. The C-IRG should not exist, and it needs to be disbanded entirely.”

And the letter highlights that the people who have been unlawfully arrested, detained and assaulted by the C-IRG “were exercising protected rights to protest non-consensual corporate extraction and pipeline construction activities on the basis that these corporate activities cause irremediable damage to Indigenous, environmental, and community rights.”

The speakers at the mobilization included human rights lawyer Shivangi Misra and Fairy Creek frontline activist Kyla Wills (via recorded message).

Among the signatories of the letter: Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chief Na’moks, Gidimt’en Checkpoint spokesperson Sleydo’, Tiny House Warriors, Autonomous Sinixt, Indigenous Climate Action, the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, 350.org, Greenpeace Canada, Idle No More, Rights Action, Keepers of Water, MiningWatch Canada, and Community Peacemaker Teams.

The letter and complete list of 50+ signatories can be read here.

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