Three NDP MPs Criticize British Columbia Government Over Pipeline Protests

Three new federal Democratic MPs signed a petition denouncing the British Columbia NDP government for its handling of an indigenous protest at a pipeline work site and expressing distress at the federal NDP’s response.

BC’s RCMP arrested multiple people, including a photojournalist and documentary maker, last month when officers moved to enforce a court order prohibiting protesters from blocking an access road used by Coastal GasLink workers. .

The office of British Columbia Prime Minister John Horgan said in a statement that “elected officials in British Columbia do not direct police operations.”

Lori Idlout, a Nunavut MP and NDP spokesperson on crown-indigenous relations, joined MPs Matthew Green and Leah Gazan in signing the petition.

The NDP MPs joined 15 former federal candidates and around 1,000 rank-and-file NDP members in saying they are “angry” at the actions towards indigenous protesters opposing the pipeline in their traditional territories in northern British Columbia.

The petition supports a statement by the young members of the Quebec NDP, which called on federal leader Jagmeet Singh “to publicly denounce violence against members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation by the RCMP.”

It expresses “dismay and anger at the statement by the federal NDP in response to these events, which obscures the oppressive role that the RCMP and BCNDP are playing in perpetuating colonial violence.”

The declaration also condemns “individuals and entities that are willing to turn a blind eye to colonialism for the sake of political expediency.”

Singh stopped Wednesday from criticizing the Horgan government at a news conference in Ottawa, but expressed concern about the RCMP arrests and said the NDP supported indigenous communities.

Singh, who visited the Wet’suwet’en community and spoke to many people there, said it is “clear that there is no clear consensus” in the community.

Three NDP MPs sign a petition criticizing BC’s #NDP government for the pipeline protests. #BCPoli #CoastalGasLink #Wetsuweten

“There are many different points of view. I see at the heart of this the impacts of colonialism,” he said, adding that “it certainly doesn’t help if you have militarized the RCMP by arresting people.”

The petition, also signed by several local NDP riding associations, says young NDP activists are “smashing” their partisan affiliations over the issue.

In a tweet, Green said he joined the signatories “in publicly denouncing the violence enacted against members of Wet’suwet’en First Nation by the RCMP.”

He called on the “provincial governor of the BCNDP and the liberal federal government to immediately withdraw the RCMP from the territory of Wet’suwet’en.”

Prime Minister Horgan’s office said it expected RCMP officers operating in the province “to conduct themselves in accordance with the standards of police conduct.”

“Elected officials in British Columbia do not direct police operations,” he said in a statement. “The CGL project is authorized, approved to proceed and underway. Fundamentally, the decisions about who represents and speaks on behalf of the people of Wet’suwet’en, and how, should be decided by the people of Wet’suwet’en.”

This Canadian Press report was first published on December 8, 2021.

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