THUNDER BAY – On Friday, the Prime Minister at a press conference in Ottawa said, “The situation as it currently stands is unacceptable and untenable. Canadians have been patient. Our government has been patient. But it has been two weeks, and the barricades need to come down now.”
“This is a complex issue and the situation we now find ourselves in is a delicate one. History has taught us how governments can make matters worse if they fail to exhaust all other possible avenues,” added the Prime Minister. “When some urged us to use force immediately, we chose dialogue and mutual respect. When others urged us to give up, we extended a hand in good faith.”
“Justin Trudeau’s Comments Dangerous” – Jagmeet Singh
New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh says that the Prime Minister’s comments are dangerous.
“Justin Trudeau’s comments are dangerous and irresponsible. First, he said it was up to the provinces, now he says the onus is on Indigenous peoples and the police. Echoing Andrew Scheer instead of meeting with hereditary chiefs is a failure of leadership and reconciliation,” states Singh.
Prime Minister has “Abandoned First Nations” – ORC Archibald
The stand taken by the Prime Minister has drawn a speedy response from Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald who states, “Prime Minister Trudeau has abandoned First Nations and our land protectors and has put our lives at risk in his latest statements warning that the onus is now on the Indigenous Leaders to end the blockade.”
The Ontario Regional Chief adds, “In Ontario, we are now planning on ways to keep all of our people safe, including innocent people who are not involved in civil actions. I encourage all Canadians to stand with us. We know that patience, peace, and inclusion are part of the fabric that makes this country great and we must all work together for a peaceful resolve.
I full heartily support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in their call for the removal of the RCMP from their Traditional Territory in order for a proper Nation to Nation discussion to take place. The only path to a peaceful resolution is where the federal government must heed the requests made by the Hereditary Chiefs”.
Chief Wilton Littlechild, the former head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada says, “This is a tipping point for Canada and it illustrates a real need for reconciliation to begin where it hasn’t and to continue where it has.”
Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs Renew Call for RCMP to Leave Traditional Territory
Also on Friday, February 21, 2020, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs met with the Mohawk People of Tyendinaga at the Council House in Tyendinaga to discuss the path forward for the Wet’suwet’en people to be able to end the illegal occupation of the RCMP and CGL on their lands.
In a statement, the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs say, “Contrary to the announcement by the BC RCMP on February 20, 2020, that they are withdrawing from Wet’suwet’en territory, the BC RCMP and CIRG have in fact increased harassment, made illegal arrests, increased surveillance, and monitoring of Wet’suwet’en people and their invited guests. This is completely unacceptable and far from a show of good faith.”
The Hereditary Chiefs add, “We remain deeply concerned by the myriad of laws that Canada has broken including Wet’suwet’en law, the Canadian Constitution, UNDRIP, and the Geneva Convention on Genocide.”
In order that nation-to-nation discussions with Canada and BC may occur freely, and without duress, the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs require the following conditions be met prior to any discussions:
– “We demand that the remote detachment (Community Industry Safety Office) established by the RCMP on Wet’suwet’en territory without our consent be immediately removed and that the RCMP are completely removed from our territory and cease patrols from our lands. Out means out.
– “We demand that all CGL activities cease within Wet’suwet’en territory while nation-to-nation talks are ongoing as pursuant to the eviction notice that was delivered to them on January 4th, 2020.
– “We commit to entering into nation to nation discussions with Canada and BC once the above two demands are met and we insist when these discussions occur, that they will be held on Wet’suwet’en territory to ensure exclusivity for our nation’s Dini ze’ and Tsakiy ze’ (Hereditary Chiefs), and the members we are accountable to, in accordance with our law.”
The Mohawk people of Tyendinaga are standing in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people until their demands are met. Since the beginning the Mohawk people of Tyendinaga have stated their willingness to allow the trains to pass through their territory and remain committed to do so once it is verified by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and their appointed legal observers that the BC RCMP are indeed out of the territory. Upon confirmation, the Mohawks have agreed to negotiate the peaceful exit plan as agreed upon between the Mohawks and the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, Marc Miller.”
We remain deeply concerned at the ongoing violation of human rights on Wet’suwet’en territory and remind Canada that Wet’suwet’en land was never ceded or surrendered and as such Canada’s actions amount to an illegal occupation in Wet’suwet’en territory. (UN, international law)<
The meeting in Tyendingaga came on the heels of a nine-hour meeting between the Mohawk People of Tyendinaga and Minister of Indigenous Services, Mark Miller on February 15, 2020. They are keeping the discussions open and remain hopeful.
The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs also reiterated their demands to Ministers Carolyn Bennett and Marc Miller and remain willing to enter into Nation to Nation talks when their demands are met.
Kanenhariyo Seth LaFort stated, “When you ask for the rule of law, then you have to follow it yourself. Canada has committed a crime against humanity in Wet’suwet’en territory. It has broken its own laws as well as Wet’suwet’en laws and international laws. You cannot remove people from their own lands at the end of a gun. A crime has been committed and the RCMP are the criminals. We encourage Justin Trudeau to continue to work towards a peaceful resolution.”