RCMP reviews Gitxsan military armistice proposal that would limit the C-IRG on Gitxsan territory

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: Wilps Gwininitxw member Ankhla Jennifer Zyp, a spokesperson for her mother, Simogyet Gwininitxw (in photo above), says: “We’re worried, for sure, that we’re going to be met with the same violence [as the Wet’suwet’en].”

Canada’s First Nations Radio CFNR reports: “RCMP leadership continue to review the Gitxsan Huwilp Government’s proposed Military Armistice Agreement. Originally presented on April 25, the proposal sees a request to limit the RCMP’s controversial Community Industry Response Group’s activity on their territory.”

The article adds: “That draft agreement limits the number of RCMP officers allowed on Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en territory to 9 officers. While no agreement has been made, [the Gitxsan Huwilp Government] says the RCMP is continuing to review the proposal.”

Pipelines coming to Gitxsan territory

Amanda Follett Hosgood  of The Tyee has reported that three pipelines – the TC Energy Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline and the Enbridge Pacific Trail and Westcoast Connector pipelines – have their environmental assessment certificates, “a blanket authorization allowing the pipelines to move forward”.

The article further highlights: “Among the territories that the three pipelines would cross are Wet’suwet’en yintah and Gitxsan laxyip. …The Gwininitxw Indigenous Protected Area, 170,000 hectares encompassing pristine wilderness that includes important wildlife habitat, unique wild salmon populations and Indigenous cultural heritage, [is] just upstream from the proposed route of two pipelines…”

The Globe and Mail has also previously reported: “Wilps Gwininitxw said in a statement that the protected territories are upstream from two proposed gas pipelines that would affect salmon-bearing rivers and streams: the [TC Energy] Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project and the [Enbridge] Westcoast Connector Gas Transmission Project.”

RCMP rejects ban on C-IRG on Gitxsan territory

On March 9, the Terrace Standard reported: “Gitxsan hereditary chiefs issued a notice this week prohibiting the RCMP’s ‘militarized squadron’ called the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) from Gitxsan lands centered on the Hazelton area.”

Their notice reads: “While we embrace safety measures for our community, the militarized squadron of the RCMP [the C-IRG] funded to the tune of $50M, have been sent to terrorize our people at the barrel of a gun during peaceful protests and blockades.”

Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Brian Williams says: “We don’t want the C-IRG army back on our territory again.”

By March 16, the CBC reported: “The RCMP says it will not commit to respecting a Gitxsan hereditary chiefs’ decision banning the Mounties’ Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) from unceded lands in northwest B.C.”

$36 million to the C-IRG

On March 29, MLA Adam Olsen raised concerns in the Legislature about news reports that the C-IRG will be receiving $36 million in provincial government funding.

In response to Olsen’s question, Solicitor General and Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth replied: “That $36 million is over three years. It is based on an average that we have spent in this province over the last number of years in terms of dealing with the enforcement of court ordered injunctions. …So as part of the budget process, we have to ensure that there is money in place to do just that. We put in place an average of what has been spent over the last number of years, and that is a three-year sum that the member is talking about. It works out to about — I think last year, it was around $11 million.”

This suggests the provincial government is budgeting in anticipation of further C-IRG actions against land defenders as have been seen on Wet’suwe’ten territory (where the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline is being built), Pacheedaht and Dididaht territories (logging by Teal Jones), Sinixt territory (logging by Cooper Creek Cedar) and Secwepemc territory (where the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline is being built).

Abolish the C-IRG

In this letter released by the Abolish C-IRG coalition, Secwepemc, Sinixt, Wet’suwet’en, Gidimt’en and Unist’ot’en communities have called for the abolition of the C-IRG.

We continue to follow this.

Photo: The Abolish C-IRG letter delivered to the Prime Minister’s Office, April 19.

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