Late Friday (August 28), the B.C. RCMP issued a statement denying it plans to move against a First Nations camp that stands in the path of oil and natural gas pipelines proposed to traverse the province.
As previously reported by the Straight, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) sent a letter to the RCMP warning against “an impending, and possibly large-scale, RCMP action in relation to the Unist'ot'en camp”. That followed the publication of a similar letter signed by a long list of organizations that range from environmentalists to civil-liberties advocates that’s titled, “We Stand with the Unist’ot’en”.
In the wake of those developments, rumours swirled about an imminent RCMP action against the camp, which is a settlement that some members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation began constructing in northwestern B.C. in 2010.
Here's the August 28 RCMP press release in full:
There have been numerous media reports and discussions online that do not accurately reflect the RCMP’s action or the situation that is occurring near Houston, BC regarding the ongoing dispute over access to the Unist’ot’en territory.
The BC RCMP respects the rights of individuals to peacefully protestsays Cpl. Janelle Shoihet, on behalf of North District RCMP.To clarify, the BC RCMP has no intention of ‘taking down the camp’ set up by the Unist’ot’en. We value the Wet’suwet’en culture, the connection to the land and traditions being taught and passed on at the camp, and the importance of the camp to healing.
Despite what is being portrayed by some media and on social media, the BC RCMP would like to emphasize that we remain impartial in this dispute. We understand that there has recently been progress made and we are very pleased with these developments. Our Aboriginal Policing Members continue to remain in contact directly with the Unist’ot’en and we will continue to assist in any way we can.
A video posted on Vimeo shows how tensions between Unist'ot'en camp members and RCMP officers have intensified in recent months.