RCMP cited Indigenous opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline as “evidence” to create the C-IRG

Published by Brent Patterson on

Photo: Indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock.

CBC journalist Brett Forester reports: “The RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] used the anti-pipeline resistance at the Standing Rock reservation [in the United States] in 2016 to justify creating a unit in British Columbia to police similar opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, newly released documents show.”

“Internal files, recently released to CBC News through access to information laws, show the RCMP cited the Sioux-led opposition as ‘supporting evidence’ when creating the force’s Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG).”

Documents obtained by CBC News.

Forester adds: “Then-Inspector Chuck McDonald’s proposal, called a ‘business case,’ offers the earliest look at why the B.C. RCMP felt it needed the new squad tasked specifically for the Trans Mountain project [then owned by Texas-based Kinder Morgan].”

The Standing Rock resistance in North Dakota in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline began in April 2016 with the concern that the fracked oil pipeline would put at risk the Missouri River, the reservation’s main source of drinking water, as well as ancient burial grounds and sacred cultural sites.

In September 2016, at least 30 people were pepper-sprayed by company security guards and six people were bitten by dogs when land defenders tried to stop construction crews and bulldozers from destroying sacred burial grounds.

Photo: On October 27, 2016, about 200 police in riot gear along with soldiers with the National Guard carried out a mid-day raid against water protectors.

On November 2, 2016, police in riot gear shot rubber bullets and used pepper spray against water protectors at Cantapeta Creek.

Then on November 21, 2016, police deployed water hoses in freezing temperatures against hundreds of water protectors. The Indigenous Environmental Network said that more than 160 people were injured by this police violence.

This was the context when the RCMP Inspector described the largely peaceful water protection struggle as a “sometimes violent protest” and made the case for the C-IRG on January 17, 2017.

The on-the-ground resistance to the fracked oil pipeline ended on February 23, 2017, when about 200 police officers entered the Oceti Sakowin camp in armoured cars, carrying weapons, and arrested about 46 people.

The C-IRG was established that same year.

Now, after nearly 500 complaints against the C-IRG, the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission is conducting a systemic review of the unit to determine if its “relevant policies, procedures, guidelines and training … are consistent with applicable jurisprudence/case law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

To read the full article by Brett Forester, go to RCMP cited Standing Rock protests as ‘evidence’ to create controversial B.C. unit (August 3, 2023).

For more about the C-IRG, please see the Abolish C-IRG website.

Categories: News Updates


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