The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) stands in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs in their intent to protect their traditional territories and prevent the construction of unwanted fossil fuel infrastructure within them.
Environmental justice and social justice are two cornerstones of a healthy society. The recent arrests of land defenders from the Wet’suwet’en Nation are in direct violation of the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which the BC and Canadian governments have committed to uphold. Furthermore, they disrupt access to the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre, for years an invaluable health resource to the Wet’suwet’en people.
Faced with a climate crisis, we must focus our attention on a rapid, just transition to energy conservation and renewable energy. The Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline will move us in the opposite direction, locking Canada into massive additional future carbon emissions. The harmful local and global effects of the fracking industry, which will supply the CGL pipeline with natural gas, have been highlighted in CAPE’s recently released report, Fractures in the Bridge.
We echo the call of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs for the provincial and federal governments to enter into meaningful nation-to-nation dialogue with them on the future of the CGL pipeline within their traditional territories. Respecting Indigenous laws, the Delgamuukw decision, and UNDRIP, this conflict must be resolved in a way that protects the environment, the human rights of the Wet’suwet’en community, and the well-being of future generations.