Complaint to the CRCC claims the RCMP C-IRG established an illegal exclusion zone on unceded Ditidaht lands

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Video: BCCLA staff counsel Veronica Martisius encounters C-IRG officers, June 2021.

The BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has submitted a complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) about actions by the RCMP community-industry response group (C-IRG) in the Caycuse watershed.

Their media release explains: “The BCCLA’s complaint focuses on an interaction between BCCLA Staff Counsel, Veronica, and the RCMP at an exclusion zone checkpoint within the Caycuse watershed on unceded Ditidaht lands on June 8, 2021.”

CFNR adds: “The BC Civil Liberties Association has accused the C-IRG of illegally stopping people from accessing an injunction order area. That order was granted to prevent people from interfering with Teal Cedar’s logging activities on Vancouver Island. However, the order stated that they could not prevent peaceful protesting, and could not stop people from accessing the injunction area.”

This video posted by the BCCLA shows the C-IRG being informed that the injunction allows people to pass but still threatening Martisius with arrest for obstruction.

Martisius later received written confirmation from RCMP lawyer Bobby Bharaj that the exclusion zone established by the C-IRG was established exclusively for the benefit of Teal Jones’ active logging operations.

Martisius says: “It is deeply disturbing and unjust for individuals who are intimately aware of their rights to be denied those rights by RCMP officers who are clearly ignorant about the law as it stands yet wield tremendous power and potential for violence in enforcing their interpretation of the law for the benefit of a logging company.”

The CRCC launched a systemic investigation into the C-IRG on March 8 of this year.

The terms of reference include reviewing C-IRG actions with respect to the Teal Cedar Products Ltd injunction in the Fairy Creek watershed.

Three months after the launch of the investigation, the CRCC told us:

“At the launch of our systemic investigation on March 8, 2023, the CRCC submitted a request for extensive information to the RCMP.  We have received some of that information so far, and are awaiting confirmation on when the RCMP will be able to compile and provide the remainder. …The CRCC strives to complete its systemic investigations within 12-18 months; however, the timely provision of requested information and access to RCMP personnel will largely determine when the CRCC’s report will be available.”

PBI-Canada will seek to provide a status update on this at the six-month mark of the investigation on September 8, 2023. As noted above, the investigation could be completed at some point between March and September 2024.

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