At Monday’s meeting, Saanich council will consider following Victoria’s lead and making a declaration of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en.
On Feb. 24, the District’s councillors will vote on a motion submitted by Coun. Nathalie Chambers asking that Saanich demonstrate support for the Wet’suwet’en people – some of whom oppose the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline set to run from northeastern B.C. to the LNG Canada’s export facility in Kitimat.
Chambers is hopeful her fellow councillors will agree to call on the provincial and federal governments to halt the pipeline project, take part in “good-faith consultation with the Wet’suwet’en People” and end attempts to forcibly remove them from their traditional territories.
In a notice of motion submitted to council at the beginning of the month, Chambers emphasized that there are many reasons for Saanich to stand in solidarity with the Wet’sewet’en hereditary chiefs who’ve whose representative role has been recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada. She pointed out that the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the B.C. Human Rights Commissioner have called on the provincial and federal governments to respect Wet’suwet’en law and that in November 2019, B.C. adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Saanich would not be the first municipality in Greater Victoria to make a declaration of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en. On Jan. 23, Victoria council passed the same motion – put forward by Couns. Ben Isitt, Sharmarke Dubow and Sarah Potts – passed with Coun. Geoff Young opposed.
Chambers chose to use Victoria’s motion as it was “beautifully written” and is “tried and true” which she feels will increase the chance of success. She’s feeling positive ahead of the Monday meeting though she’s still looking for a councillor to second the motion.