Editor’s note: This issue was voted on at council on Tuesday, Feb. 18. Council voted 5-2 in favour of not issuing a statement.
Over the last two weeks, the RCMP invaded Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C., arresting Indigenous protestors and supporters and detaining the journalists trying to cover the events, all in support of a pipeline needed to deliver natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat for export at the yet-to-be-built LNG Canada facility.
As District of Squamish Council has resolved, we are in a climate emergency.
Developing new fossil fuel infrastructure at this time is possibly committing us to a world warming well beyond +2C, with consequences we likely can’t even imagine.
The current economic damages of climate change are already severe; additional warming will cause those damages to far exceed even the most optimistic estimates of economic growth from oil and gas export. Canada’s federal government talks about the climate crisis and a pathway to +1.5C but continues to act in ways that make that pathway increasingly impossible. The Coastal Gas Link pipeline is fundamentally incompatible with Canada’s climate goals and with a global pathway to a livable world.
In addition, the treatment of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs has laid bare the other piece of our deep hypocrisy. The federal and provincial governments talk about reconciliation, implementation of UNDRIP, and more, but at the same time, they use a militarized police force to remove Indigenous people from their land. The Unist’ot’en Healing Centre — which is in the middle of this conflict — is a federally funded centre for land-based treatment of substance abuse and other issues. On Feb. 10, the proprietors of this centre were forcibly removed during a ceremony by RCMP officers, complete with dogs, helicopters, and assault rifles. During the siege, RCMP tried to keep press out, detaining journalists for eight hours and threatening others with arrest.
Canada is failing to take action on climate and it’s failing to follow its own promises of reconciliation. I appreciate the close relationship the District of Squamish has with the Squamish Nation, and I know that, as a country, we can do better on both counts. I’m asking the District of Squamish council to pass a resolution in support of the Wet’suwet’en, against Coastal Gas Link, and against authoritarian police actions.
The more of us that stand up and fight, the more likely it is we can make a difference. Stand with Victoria and stand with the thousands of protestors around the country to support the Wet’suwet’en — and our future.