NEWS RELEASE · 9th September 2015
Douglas Channel Watch
Douglas Channel Watch (DCW) supports the Unist'ot'en First Nation right to not allow Enbridge Northern Gateway or natural gas companies from accessing Unist'ot'en land, or for the construction of diluted bitumen or natural gas pipelines across Unist'ot'en territory or rivers.
The June 2014 Supreme Court of Canada decision, Tsilhqot'in Nation v. British Columbia, found that First Nations which have never signed a treaty have never relinquished traditional governance of their land or its resources, and therefore, has never adopted those of the Crown.
Before Bill C-51 the rules of engagement between pipeline companies, First Nation protectors, sympathetic civilians, and the RCMP were clear because court orders or injunctions were required before arrests began.
After Bill C-51 the rules are vague at best, and untested. People can now be deemed terrorists because they may be interfering with the "economic or financial stability of Canada", because they may be "interfering with critical infrastructure", or that they might in the future.
These new designations could allow peaceful Unist'ot'en or citizens, who are allowing everybody except pipeline company staff to pass through their checkpoints, to be detained without a warrant, court order, or injunction of any kind, and be held for up to a week without any charges being laid.
DCW asks that Coastal GasLink Pipelines remove their complaint with the RCMP, coming as it does during a federal election and when winter snow will soon make any survey work nearly impossible until spring.
DCW asks Indian Act Chief Councillors, First Nation Hereditary Chiefs, Provincial Governments, and the Federal Government to resolve outstanding land claims and treaties. Governments, First Nations, companies wishing to do business, and Canadians as a whole would benefit from a clear understanding and respect for each other's defined rights and responsibilities.
Finally, DCW asks that all parties work toward a non-confrontational resolution of this issue, and that Coastal GasLink find another route if their project is unacceptable to the Unist'ot'en.
Douglas Channel Watch, Kitimat, BC.