News Release. February 20, 2015
(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, BC – February 20, 2015) This week, the Harper Government introduced Bill C-51, Anti-terrorism Act, 2015. Bill C-51 will radically and dangerously expand the powers of Canada’s national security agencies and greatly infringe upon the rights of all citizens without making us any safer or secure.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs stated “The Union of BC Indian Chiefs believes the sweeping scope of Bill C-51 directly violates the ability of all Indigenous Peoples to exercise, assert and defend their constitutionally-protected and judicially-recognized Indigenous Title and Rights to their respective territories.”
“It is absolutely appalling that as Indigenous Peoples protecting our territories we may be faced with the many insidious, provocative and heavy-handed powers that are granted by this omnibus Bill C-51. The Harper Government has dramatically changed internal government practices, policymaking structures and decision-making processes to serve an explicit natural resources development agenda. We have witnessed the gutting of environmental legislation, clamp-down of scientific analysis and comprehensive surveillance programs of Indigenous and environmental opposition,” said Grand Chief Phillip.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip concluded “As an act of civil disobedience, I was arrested at Burnaby Mountain because I believe mega-projects, like Kinder Morgan and Enbridge pipelines, do not respect the Indigenous laws and inherent authority of Indigenous Peoples to protect their territories, land and waters from the very real potential and increased risk of oil spills and increased coast tanker traffic along our coast. I believe under the draconian measures of Bill C-51, I would be identified as a terrorist. Regardless, I will continue to do what is necessary to defend the collective birthright of our grandchildren.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, (604) 684-0231
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.