Support land defenders on Vancouver Island – Denounce RCMP assaults

Four articles and two videos from Renewal Update, August 28, 2021

Denounce RCMP Assaults on Land Defenders

• Evidence of Canada’s Democracy

• What You Need to Know About the Stand-off at Fairy Creek, BC – Mountain Life – (Excerpts)

Nlaka’pamux Nation Event and Fundraiser: All Out to Support Nlaka’pamux (Lytton) Youth Programs

* * *

Support land defenders on Vancouver Island – Denounce RCMP assaults

On August 21 RCMP violently attacked a group of about 50 people who had linked arms to form a stationary “blob” — a line, several people deep — in front of one of the gates to a logging road. Police violently assaulted people and used pepper spray, even reaching into the group and spraying directly into people’s mouths.

On August 23, hundreds of people in over a dozen communities in BC participated in actions organized outside RCMP detachments to protest the ongoing RCMP violence against land defenders on Vancouver Island.

More than 800 people have been arrested since May when police began enforcing an injunction granted to logging company Teal-Jones. Injunctions such as this one issued by the courts show how the state intervenes on behalf of narrow private interests and then, when vicious assaults take place and rights are trampled underfoot with impunity, violating every sacred right of citizens and Indigenous peoples, governments stand back and sanctimoniously say there is nothing they can do, “it is a law and order issue.”

Police have also arrested journalists and legal observers as well as participants in the blockade but governments at all levels are silent. They holler if journalists are arrested abroad in countries where they support regime change but remain silent when the same happens in Canada. It reveals the hypocritical nature of what are called the liberal democratic institutions in Canada and it is high time this hypocrisy is put to rest.

The issue is that old growth forest is being destroyed by the private interests governments are permitting to conduct business. The fact is that by hereditary right the Indigenous peoples are the stewards of the land and theirs must be the final say when it comes to how the land and its resources are managed. As it stands, despite a ruling by the Supreme Court of BC on July 20 that certain RCMP actions to enforce the “exclusion zones” that they have set up are unlawful, the RCMP continue to act with impunity.

For over a year, hundreds of people have participated in peaceful civil disobedience actions near Port Renfrew on southern Vancouver Island to prevent the harvesting of old growth trees. The NDP government is not implementing its own election promise to defer old growth logging. It is not doing its duty to protect the environment. Citizens are within their rights to do their duty when governments are derelict in doing theirs. After government’s refusal to act, Indigenous youth and others from the surrounding communities set up the blockades and are doing their duty as the defenders of the land. All power to them and their allies, which include many elderly people who are putting their lives on the line to defend what is right.

Instead of addressing the people’s concerns, the government’s claim that this is a “law and order” issue gives the RCMP a green light to remove the blockades. Governments take no responsibility for the fact that police have been acting with impunity, blocking access to journalists and legal observers, assaulting people, confiscating and destroying personal property, and leaving garbage and debris where they have taken down blockaders’ camps and then blaming the people for the mess.

People have a right to have a say in matters that affect them, not least of which is the verified dangers posed to the people, their communities and humankind by abuse and destruction of the natural environment by narrow private interests. Protecting the forests of BC and determining how this precious resource is to be developed in a manner which gives the Indigenous peoples final say is an essential issue for forestry communities who can see the necessity of working together. It is a matter of mutual benefit which brings one and all together to get it right.

Denounce the criminal assaults of the RCMP, and the role of governments and the courts which permit it, and the narrow private interests whose agents they all are!

The Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada calls on all Canadians to support the land defenders on Vancouver Island!

Pender Island
Parksville; Squamish

To view a video of the RCMP attack on land defenders at Fairy Creek on August 21, click here.

* * *

Evidence of Canada’s democracy

The state violence against protesters at the Fairy Creek blockade on Vancouver Island is unacceptable and must be stopped. It underscores the kind of democracy Canada has, where no matters of concern to the people are discussed but instead are subjected to state-organized police violence, resulting in injuries, arrests and denial of free speech and conscience.

The fate of old growth forests is neither a new issue nor one that in any way should be subjected to state intervention with court injunctions, exclusion zones, obstruction of media, police violence and mass arrests. Issues concerning the social and natural environment must be argued out in discussion and debate among the people without the threat of state-organized interference and violence.

The forest company in question, Teal-Jones, cannot use its claim of ownership of private property and sense of entitlement bestowed on it by governments as reasons to override the discussion regarding the cutting of old growth forests in the Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek watershed) on unceded territory of the Pacheedaht Indigenous Nation. Unceded means the Pacheedaht have not relinquished their rights and titles to the land. To sell unceded land is surely the definition of theft if ever there was one.

Adding insult to injury, the state authorities deprive the people of their right to discuss the problem of cutting old growth forest. To unleash court injunctions, exclusion zones, police violence and the arrest of 800 land defenders who oppose the cutting of old growth forests is beneath contempt and in opposition to modern principles of sorting out problems through discussion and the peaceful development of public opinion. No matter how individuals may feel about the cutting of old growth forests, it remains an issue that must be resolved through discussion, objectivity of consideration and modern principles underlying an economy that serves and meets the needs of the people and Mother Earth, and the humanization of the social and natural environment.

Protest against RCMP violence in Nanaimo, August 23, 2021

The scenes of police violence at the Fairy Creek blockade are sickening to watch and a travesty of what Canadians normally consider as their right to protest and voice their opinions. In response to the latest police violence and arrests, hundreds of people demonstrated their outrage at 15 different RCMP detachments across BC on August 23 to demand an immediate end to the repression and the resolution of this issue peacefully.

An alternative to police power and state violence against the people is found in the mobilization of the people for democratic renewal. An alternative is found in people speaking in their own name, and in groups discussing issues of concern without fear of reprisal from powerful forces that own social wealth and parts of the socialized economy as private property and who exercise inordinate power over governments to the point of controlling their decisions.

The program of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada calls on the people to organize and empower themselves to bring into being a modern Canada under their control that meets the needs of all, defends their rights and humanizes the natural and social environment!

Denounce the Court Injunction and Police Violence on Vancouver Island!
All Out for Democratic Renewal

* * *

What you need to know about the stand-off at Fairy Creek, BC

– Mountain Life 

The Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht Indigenous Nations on Vancouver Island recently submitted a request to the BC government to defer logging in the area for two years while they collaborate on a management plan…. [The deferral, however,] does not apply to the important Granite Creek watershed or the stoppage of road-building throughout the deferral area. By continuing to try to build roads, the forest company Teal-Jones is setting itself up to log the old-growth after the two-year deferral process is over. But if the three Nations decide not to allow harvesting in the deferral area, the road-building process will have already harmed the ecosystem, with many old-growth trees chopped down.

[The land defenders] want protection for the entire Fairy Creek and Central Walbran areas, roughly 1,700 hectares in size and containing the last intact watershed … and some of the last unprotected temperate old-growth forests on Vancouver Island, including the rare yellow cedar. For context, 50,000 hectares of old-growth forest is cut annually in BC. The 2020 Old Growth Strategic Review, written by independent experts and commissioned by the provincial government, states that we are hurtling towards “irreversible loss.” […]

What is happening at Ada’itsx (Fairy Creek) is a familiar scene, one that is often conducted by the provincial government and extraction industries. A First Nation council is given the “choice” of continuing to struggle with little economic opportunity for their community under an oppressive colonial system or enter into an agreement with the government for resource extraction that “awards” them licences for their own (previously stolen) land. The agreement usually sees the Nation receiving the smallest fraction of the profit pie.

In 2017, the Pacheedaht Nation entered a revenue sharing agreement with the Province of BC and Teal-Jones for the Fairy Creek area. Teal-Jones will make at least $132 million while the Pacheedaht will make $350,000 at most. What’s more, the agreement has conditions of “Non-interference” and “Cooperation and Support.” These conditions and agreement are seen by many to be in conflict with Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which Canada is beholden to.

Niece of Elder Bill Jones, xʷ is xʷ čaa (Kati George-Jim) has been vocal on social media about how band councils are a form of governance imposed by the colonial system and are not representative of an individual Nation’s own laws or traditional forms of self-governance. Speaking in a video for the Fairy Creek blockade account, she explains, “This province especially, this government especially, have gotten so good at lying and making it seem like it is consent … the fact is, these colonial systems put us in a position that there is no choice, there is no consent, and the systems that we have had to depend on for our entire existence are actively being disrupted by this government. And this government selectively chooses who and what type of Indigenous leadership that they support, and again it is no mistake that it is those that are directly connected to Industry to exploit the land for profit.”

Elder Bill Jones echoes his niece’s sentiments in a media statement saying, “This is indeed an oppressive system, whereby governments crush all hope and consciousness of its membership to the benefit of our political elite.” He goes on to say the province has used a divide and conquer method to create division within the Pacheedaht Nation. Both xʷ is xʷ čaa and Elder Bill Jones have explained that looking after these lands is their ancestral duty. Elder Bill Jones states, “I will continue standing for the land until I am dead.”

In the video below Elder Bill Jones and hereditary chief Victor Peters lead land defenders through police line, May 29, 2021.

* * *

Nlaka’pamux Nation Event and Fundraiser

All Out to Support Nlaka’pamux (Lytton) Youth Programs

The interior of British Columbia is on fire. The Nlaka’pamux Nation is being hit especially hard. The village of Tl’kemcheen (Lytton), the place in the heart where the blood mixes at the convergence of the great Thompson and Fraser Rivers, almost completely burnt down due to the devastating forest fires on June 30.

Just recently, on August 14 members of Lytton First Nation were made to evacuate once again, and neighbouring Nlaka’pamux villages Skuppah, Siska, Nicomen and Kanaka were also made to evacuate. All of these villages used the essential services that were located in the village of Tl’kemcheen (Lytton) such as the grocery store, the pharmacy, the hospital, the post office, the medical clinic and more. School is expected to return soon as the two schools Kumsheen ShchEma-meet School and Stein Valley Nlaka’pamux School did not burn down.

This GoFundMe will be allocated for youth programming, workshops and mental health support as the youth have experienced an immense amount of trauma, as well as for the actual rebuilding of structures so community members can have a home to return to.

To donate click here

Celebration of Culture and Community
August 28 — 1:00 pm
Andy Livingstone Park, Vancouver

Renewal Update, August 28, 2021

Renewal Update is the newsletter of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada, the electoral name registered by Elections Canada of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) or CPC(M-L).
National Office: 404-1066 Somerset St. W., Ottawa, ON K1Y 4T3


Subscriptions are free and delivered by e-mail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, Forestry, Indigenous Peoples

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s