The Ontario Convention of the Communist Party of Canada condemns the recent arrests of land defenders on Wet’suwet’en territories. We stand in full solidarity in the fight for the rights of land and water defenders whether it be on Wet’suwet’en territory, Haudenosaunee territory at the 1492 Land Back reclamation or anywhere around the world where Indigenous peoples are struggling against capitalist dispossession. The RCMP, OPP and other heavily armed police agencies acting on behalf of corporate interests have no right to invade and violently arrest people for protecting natural resources, lands, or homes on sovereign territories. All charges must be immediately dropped.
The November RCMP arrests of land and water defenders during a violent two-day raid on Wet’suwet’en territory is another shameful chapter in Canada’s ongoing history of genocide of Indigenous peoples. It is a continuation of the centuries-long effort by corporations and governments to dispossess Indigenous peoples of their lands and resources. Coastal GasLink, the RCMP and the BC and federal governments must respect Wet’suwet’en sovereignty. Even Canada’s own Supreme Court affirmed in the 1997 Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa ruling that Aboriginal title, the right to exclusively use and occupy land, has never been extinguished across 55,000 square kilometers of Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan territories. The hypocrisy of the federal Liberal government and BC’s NDP provincial government is on full display.
Haudenosaunee Land Defenders have been holding a land reclamation site for a year and a half. 1492 Land Back Lane is on a piece of land where Foxgate Developments was set to construct residential buildings until they pulled out in 2021 thanks to the reclamation. The planned development is part of the Haldimand Tract, land that the British colonial government agreed to recognize as belonging to the Haudenosaunee in 1784. This included 10 kilometres on either side of the Grand River. However, the Six Nations of the Grand River now has less than 5% of this land. During this ongoing struggle, the Ford government has chosen to fuel racism and encourage police violence. In 2020, after the police attacked the land defenders with rubber bullets and tasers and made thirty arrests, the Premier declared that the stand-off had been caused by “a few bad apples”. Ford also unironically commented that “you just can’t go in and take over people’s future homes,” and that he was going to “protect police”.
The cause of the current situation is not “bad apples” but centuries of ignoring land rights agreed to in treaties, decades of ignoring land claims, and when resistance surfaces, using police to brutalize Indigenous peoples. The role the Ontario government has played has been to encourage police violence, land theft and the continued erosion of treaty rights.
Instead of continuing to criminalize Indigenous peoples, federal and provincial governments must begin to truly respect Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination. This must include the right to full, free, prior and informed consent over all development, including resource extraction and pipelines on or affecting their land or livelihoods. The Ontario Convention of the Communist Party of Canada stands in solidarity with all struggles fighting for sovereignty and self-determination of Indigenous nations and all oppressed nations in Canada. We fight for a socialist Canada based on an equal and voluntary partnership of First Nations, the Métis, the Inuit, Quebec, English-Canada and the Acadian Nation. This can only be achieved through the struggle for the full sovereignty and self-determination of all nations.
Special Resolution of the Communist Party of Canada’s 31st Ontario Provincial Convention, held November 27-28, 2021.