RCMP were prepared to use lethal force to clear away Wet'suwet'en protesters determined to block access to their land.
Canadian police were prepared to shoot Indigenous land defenders blockading construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
Notes from a strategy session for a militarized raid on ancestral lands of the Wet’suwet’en nation show that commanders of Canada’s national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), argued that “lethal overwatch is req’d” – a term for deploying snipers.No, you sick bastard. Lethal overwatch is required in Fallujah where military forces are already engaged in heavy, door-to-door combat with al Qaeda insurgents. The historic lands of the Wet'suwet'en in northern BC are not Fallujah.
The RCMP commanders also instructed officers to “use as much violence toward the gate as you want” ahead of the operation to remove a roadblock which had been erected by Wet’suwet’en people to control access to their territories and stop construction of the proposed 670km (416-mile) Coastal GasLink pipeline (CGL).
In a separate document, an RCMP officer states that arrests would be necessary for “sterilizing the site”.
Wet’suwet’en people and their supporters set up the Gidimt’en checkpoint in December 2018 to block construction of the pipeline through this region of mountains and pine forests 750 miles north of Vancouver.
On 7 January, RCMP officers – dressed in military-green fatigues and armed with assault rifles – descended on the checkpoint, dismantling the gate and arresting 14 people.Then again, part of our 'cherished Canadian values' is the art of 'sterilizing' First Nations lands. Think Ipperwash on steroids.
StasiRCMP were prepared to arrest children and grandparents: “No exception, everyone will be arrested in the injunction area,” a document reads. Another makes reference to possible child apprehension by social services – a troubling disclosure given the violent history of residential schooling in Canada and the disproportionate number of Indigenous children currently in the child welfare system.
“The police are here to support the invasion of Indigenous territories,” said Tlingit land defender Anne Spice. “It is what they’ve always done. Now, they watch us when we travel to pick berries. They ‘patrol’ the roads where we hunt. They harass us and profile us under the guise of ‘public safety’.”
Since the January raid, an RCMP detachment known as the Community Industry Safety Office has maintained a large presence in an effort to forestall any resistance to pipeline construction.
What kind of Canada is this where we send sniper teams to a peaceful protest while cops, dressed in combat fatigues and wielding assault rifles, move on the protesters? On their own traditional lands. Dissent met with assault rifles and sniper teams. Cops kitted out in combat gear told to use "as much violence as you want." What message does that send them? What are the rest of us to make of that?
Let's be blunt. This is the federal government's pipeline Stasi. This is the Liberal government's doing. This falls at the feet of the prime minister, Justin Trudeau.