CUPE Ontario members stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and activists at the Unist’ot’en Camp defending their territory and the environment against big oil and right-wing politicians.

Last month, TransCanada Coastal GasLink sought an injunction directing hereditary chiefs to remove the gate at Unist’ot’en Camp, allowing its agents to build a pipeline through their traditional territories.

On Monday, 14 people were arrested in a heroic act of civil disobedience to block that pipeline and defend our planet. These arrests severely undermine British Columbia’s relationship with Indigenous peoples and Canada’s commitment to honour the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

CUPE Ontario members stand with the Wet’suwet’em hereditary chiefs and the Unist’ot’en/Giltseyu-Dark House in demanding that provincial and federal governments revoke the permits for this project until the standards of free, prior, and informed consent are met.

Despite claims of a new chapter in crown-Indigenous relations, it’s clear from this episode that we still have a long way to go before achieving true reconciliation. Closer to home, the Doug Ford Conservatives’ opposition to the carbon tax, dismantling of the cap-and-trade system, recent firing of employees at the Indigenous Culture Fund, and the merger of the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation into Energy, Northern Development and Mines, all speak to the danger right-wing politicians pose to the environment and reconciliation efforts.

As long as the colonialism and greed of big oil companies and right-wing ideologues are shielded by unjust laws, we have a moral responsibility to disobey them. To that end, on behalf of the CUPE Ontario Abroginal Council, we have contributed to the Unis’ot’en Camp legal fund and encourage CUPE Locals to do the same. We also encourage members to participate in solidarity rallies such as those that have taken place in Guelph, Peterborough, Toronto, and Ottawa over the past few days.