OPSEU is joining the Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia in opposing the Coastal Gaslink pipeline.
OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas says the British Columbia government must respect Indigenous title and revoke permits for the pipeline.
He is also calling for the federal government to pull funding from the project.
“It’s time that Prime Minister Trudeau took real action on this file – if he wants anyone to believe his numerous statements supporting Indigenous reconciliation,” Thomas said.
“When the police are rounding up Indigenous people peacefully protecting their land against a pipeline, feel-good talk seems hollow, it’s time for action.”
OPSEU Indigenous Circle member Crystal Sinclair was at the Unis’to’ten camp and witnessed the RCMP crackdown on those defending unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.
“It’s a national disgrace for Trudeau to send in armed, military-style RCMP to use force against Indigenous people peacefully exercising their sovereignty over their lands,” she said. “It’s actions like this that betray the shallow roots of talk of reconciliation.
“The RCMP and TransCanada must immediately vacate Wet’suwet’en territory – and keep away from the Healing Centre.”
President Thomas says he and the OPSEU Executive Board are champions of Indigenous rights and sovereignty, saying the union will always stand with Indigenous members of OPSEU to defend the water and land for everyone.
“OPSEU is absolutely committed to walking with Indigenous communities over the long haul – and we invite all levels of government to do the same,” he said.
“We need to have a nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples to bring about real action on climate change. Overrunning sovereign Indigenous lands to lay down a massive pipeline certainly won’t achieve that.”