“Why haven’t you called off the Police in Wet’suwet’en? ” This is a question I have been asked over and over.
I want people to know that politicians cannot dictate to the RCMP how they make operational decisions. It would be a scary world if we did. I acknowledge that this is an extremely difficult time and I feel sick about what is unfolding.
“Whose side are you on?” is another question I’ve been asked. I want you to know that I respect indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination.
More specifically, I respect Haisla elected chief Crystal Smith’s decision to create jobs and opportunity for her community in Kitamaat village. Equally, I respect Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Na’moks’ decision to stand up and protect his traditional territory from development that doesn’t fit with his community’s values.
I know that’s not the definitive answer some seek from me but it is an answer that reflects the complexity of the situation and it is my truth.
Land defenders and supporters are disrupting business, trade, and people’s daily lives around the country. At the same time, indigenous people are being removed from their traditional territories by gunpoint. This resembles times past of residential school removals and other injustices and these actions are (re)traumatizing for indigenous people of many Nations.
Clearly, we have a long ways to go in the reconciliation process. I am committed to continue working on decolonizing our laws in B.C. and my work as a representative of many diverse Nations.
I am saddened that the Wiggus (Respect) table was not successful in finding a resolution to the current conflict in Wet’suwet’en territory.
My hope is for peace and safety of all.