Photo of dozens of heavily armed RCMP breaching the checkpoint during the Nov. 18 militarized raid.
Dozens of heavily armed RCMP breaching the checkpoint during the Nov. 18 militarized raid. Credit: Dan Loan / Gidimt’en Checkpoint Credit: Dan Loan / Gidimt’en Checkpoint

On the first day of a heavily-armed, militarized RCMP raid against Wet’suwet’en land defenders last month, Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs highlighted that the “enforcement was dictated by the actions taken by protesters that blocked the Morice River Forest Service Road.”

Stubbs said the “protesters” had “jeopardized the safety and wellness of hundreds of people whose provisions were at critical levels.”

The RCMP further emphasized in its media statement on that raid on Thursday November 18 that it was “an effort to rescue hundreds of workers who have been blocked in their camp by contemnors.”

The “contemnors” (a person found to have committed contempt of court) likely refers to the Gidimt’en Clan who radioed a Mandatory Evacuation Order to Coastal GasLink workers on Sunday November 14.

It was 10 hours after the radioing of that evacuation order that Gidimt’en Checkpoint tweeted: “The Morice River FSR has been disabled, blocking trespassers from our yintah!”

And yet, comments now made by RCMP Chief Superintendent John Brewer, the gold commander of the Community-Industry Response Group, suggest the authorization for the raid was given by the provincial government of British Columbia prior to the radioing of that evacuation order.

APTN reports Brewer stating the decision was made before the extreme weather hit British Columbia.

It was around Thursday November 11-Friday November 12 that meteorologists began warning that an extreme rainstorm was on its way. The heavy rains in British Columbia began on Saturday November 13.

That’s at least one day, and perhaps two or three days, prior to the Mandatory Evacuation Order being radioed to CGL.

Furthermore, Marc Miller, the federal minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, stated on Tuesday November 16 that “it depends” when asked if the situation would escalate as it did with the RCMP raid against the Wet’suwet’en in 2020.

Again, the comments made by Brewer also suggest that the provincial government had already given authorization for the RCMP to conduct the raid prior to the statement from the federal Minister.

APTN notes: “It isn’t clear when Farnworth greenlit the latest redeployment because his office declined to answer emailed questions from Nation to Nation.”

As such, for now, we can only try to piece together a timeline.

But specificity from Minister Farnworth and Superintendent Brewer on the date of the authorization for the raid and when the operational decision was made is necessary for transparency and accountability.

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Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson is a political activist, writer and the executive director of Peace Brigades International-Canada. He lives in Ottawa on the traditional, unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin...