140 people attended Duncan meeting supporting anti-pipeline protesters
Re: Duncan support for Wet’suwet’en people
On Saturday, Jan. 19, around 140 people gathered at the Duncan United Church for presentations in support of the Unist’ot’en and Gidumt’en Clans of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. This traditional unceded territory is between Houston and Smithers in Northern B.C. and is threatened by an unwanted intrusion of a fracked gas pipeline.
TransCanada Pipeline Ltd., through its wholly owned subsidiary, Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd., as part of its LNG (liquefied natural gas) industry, seeks to build a pipeline to carry gas from fracking wells in northeastern B.C., through unceded territories of the Unist’ot’en people near Houston, to the Pacific coast at Kitimat.
Hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation refuse to consent to that intrusion upon their territories. Their refusal is consistent with Wet’suwet’en law and with rights acknowledged by Canada’s Supreme Court and Constitution Act.
On Jan. 7, heavily armed RCMP officers broke aggressively through a checkpoint on the road to Unist’ot’en territories. At present, Coastal GasLink crews have entered and are bulldozing a roadway through this land, which includes an active trapline.
Dr. Karla Tait, director of Clinical Programming for the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre, addressed those attending by remote link from Unist’ot’en Camp. She spoke of the importance of the unspoiled territories for the health of the people. This Healing Centre supports people healing from the effects of addictions and related issues.
Dr. Eoin Finn, PhD, MBA, brought his professional scientific and accounting expertise to his presentation. He spoke on environmental, business and political issues within LNG industries, especially as related to B.C.
The event was sponsored by the Duncan United Church Social Justice group, with support from the Council of Canadians Cowichan Chapter.
The heartfelt reception and expressions of solidarity by the audience, and their generous cash donations, were much appreciated.
The local event organizers plan to continue to work in both public education and in putting on activities in support of Wet’suwet’en peoples’ rights to their territories under Canadian law. These events unfolding in northern B.C. have ramifications in both the civil rights of the Aboriginal peoples and in the increasingly serious effects of the fossil fuel industries on climate change.
John Mowat Steven