Our declaration to the City of Victoria: no meddling in Wet’suwet’en affairs

The City of Victoria voted on 24 Jan. 2020 to demand that BC and Ottawa halt construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, in a city resolution labelled ‘Declaration of Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en People.’

Our response: 

A declaration on the audacity of a city government to meddle in the affairs of First Nations, having done nothing to look into the complexity of the issue

WHEREAS thousands of Indigenous people support the Coastal GasLink pipeline project and the benefits that will accrue to their communities;

WHEREAS many Wet’suwet’en people support the Coastal GasLink pipeline project;

WHEREAS 20 elected chief councillors and their Nations voted to support the Coastal GasLink pipeline project using a democratic process identical to the one used by Victoria City Council;

WHEREAS Coastal GasLink has, with no success, been offering to meet with the five hereditary chiefs that oppose the project (out of 13 Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs) with a goal of resolving the matter peacefully;

WHEREAS denying Indigenous pipeline supporters employment and economic development opportunities, and accepting continued poverty, is a form of violence;

WHEREAS you cannot resolve conflict with people who refuse to meet or engage in dialogue;

WHEREAS it is on the public record that comprehensive consultation and engagement has taken place over a number of years, including consultation related to routing of the pipeline;

AND WHEREAS the sharing of economic benefits, including the potential of part-ownership by Indigenous groups in the pipeline, is a real and true step towards Indigenous reconciliation;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the City of Victoria has no right to interfere in the democratic processes of First Nations, nor to call for a halt in construction, nor to meddle in an issue that is for the Wet’suwet’en people alone to decide.

(Posted here 26 January 2020)

• Video: Victoria council approves its resolution, with no discussion, in 20 seconds

• The text of the city’s resolution