The following statement was adopted at the February 18, 2020, regular meeting.
The Vancouver and District Labour Council is alarmed by the ongoing conflict taking place on the Wet’suwet’en territory. While the recent discussions between the Provincial Government and the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs was a hopeful development, it unfortunately did not lead to a resolve of the dispute.
Since that time, the RCMP have renewed their actions on Wet’suwet’en territory to enforce Coastal GasLink’s court injunction, including several arrests of peaceful demonstrators. We respect the diversity of opinions that exist amongst our affiliates with regards to the project in question. We also commit ourselves to the process of reconciliation, and to respect for the rights of Indigenous nations as outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
We are therefore calling for Premier John Horgan, the Provincial Government and Coastal GasLink to urgently return to the table with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, and for all parties to renew efforts to find a mutual, peaceful solution which respects and upholds the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, which the Provincial Government recently adopted with Bill 41, specifically Article 10 which states “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free, prior and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation and, where possible, with the option of return.” We also call on the Provincial Government to order the RCMP to withdraw from Wet’suwet’en territory and allow for this to take place.
We have often rejected the narrative that workers must choose between jobs and the environment. Similarly, we must reject the narrative that there is a choice to be made between jobs and Indigenous rights. We must demand both.
We also urge that other labour unions, and labour organizations including the Canadian Labour Congress and BC Federation of Labour adopt this motion, and that union members recognize protests as picket lines, and refuse to cross these picket lines either digitally or physically.