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October 28, 2017 2:44 am

Will Bill C-51 show its teeth at Unist’ot’en?

Monday, August 31, 2015 @ 3:45 AM
By Bill Phillips
Earlier this year, when I was still at the Free Press, I ran a front page photo of Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stewart Phillip with the grabber headline: “Is this man a terrorist?”
The sub-head was: “He thinks he might be.”

Phillip had posed the question in response to the Bill-C51, the anti-terrorism bill. Because he is unabashedly against pipelines and not averse to manning blockades, the First Nations leader feels that under the controversial bill, he could be labelled a terrorist.
He may get a chance to put that to the test.
Phillip made his way up to the Unist’ot’en camp near Houston on the weekend.
The Unist’ot’en been camped in the area for months protesting the Chevron Trails pipeline project, which is slated to go through Unist’ot’en territory.
Phillip, along with the Unist’ot’en feel that the RCMP are getting ready to take down the camp. They claim the RCMP have booked hotel rooms in Houston and Smithers and feel that is an indication they are readying to move in and dismantle the camp.
Shortly after Phillip announced he was heading to the camp, the RCMP issued as statement saying that isn’t the case.
“The BC RCMP respects the rights of individuals to peacefully protest,” said Cpl. Janelle Shoihet, on behalf of North District RCMP, Friday. “To clarify, the BC RCMP has no intention of ‘taking down the camp’ set up by the Unist’ot’en. We value the Wet’suwet’en culture, the connection to the land and traditions being taught and passed on at the camp, and the importance of the camp to healing.”
She emphasized that the RCMP remain impartial in the dispute. In other words, they won’t move in unless there is a court injunction or someone way higher up the line who makes the order.
Should the RCMP move to dismantle the camp, it could be the first time provisions in the new anti-terrorism are used.
Josh Paterson of the B.C.Civil Liberties Association told a Prince George crowd earlier this year that under the bill the definition of terrorism is so broad that it can include such things as interrupting or interfering with critical infrastructures. That could, he said, include things like blockades or demonstrations that block highways or rail lines or, perhaps, voicing support for action on the land on social media.
“So you don’t have to set out to actually blow something up or commit some kind of awful crime to, potentially, be considered a terrorist,” he said.
In addition, should the RCMP move on the Unist’ot’en camp, they will be able to haul people away from the camp and hold them for seven days without laying a charge against them. It used to be that the RCMP had 72 hours to charge someone or let them go after they arrest them. Now it’s a full week. Yes, those at the camp can be held for a full week without the police having to lay any charges against them. During that time, the police, or more likely, CSIS, can snoop around to see if they can find anything to charge them with.
Will the Unist’ot’en camp in the wilderness near Houston be the first example of what the RCMP can do under the new bill? Only time will tell, but if it’s not at the Unist’ot’en camp, it will be somewhere else.
Bill Phillips is a freelance columnist living in Prince George. He was the winner of the 2009 Best Editorial award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray awards, in 2007 he won the association’s Best Columnist award. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist category and, in 2003, placed second. He can be reached at billphillips1@mac.com


I sure hope not. I never considered the actual effects of C-51 until this example. If C-51 is used against these protesters heads will roll, figuratively and possibly literaly. I hope no one is harmed if there is a conflict, but im afraid this wont end well…Dont forget this on election day, does anyone know if the Libs or NDP have an opinion on C-51?

Fear mongering at it’s finest.

Nope, I have seen better fear mongering, most notably from those who say if we don’t allow ALL pipelines then our economy will collapse and we will all be destitute with no medical care or schools or infrastructure left.

Bill C-51 can be amended/repaired with full respect for the Constitution and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We are stuck with it at least until after the election. Don’t count on the Harper government to do that.

Sqrlly, have you been out of Canada this year? C-51 was throughly dissected by many legal experts in constitutional and other areas of law. Their opinion was this bill will cost us, the citizens of Canada, a whole lot of lawyer’s hours. It will keep both Government and civil rights lawyers busy until it is declared unconstitional or until the Liberals amend it or the NDP repeal it.

The Liberals voted for it and promised to amend it if they form the next government. The NDP voted against it and promised they will repeal it if they form the next government.

Some aspects of C-51 are before the courts so we will get a ruling in regards to the Constitution and the Charter.

One wonders why Bill Phillips would not take the statement by Cpl Janelle Shoihet at face value. Ie; **unless there is an injuction or orders from higher up.** they have no intention of taking the camp down.

Lets wait and see if there is actually a problem here before we start to show all the dire consequences that will take place **IF** this happens, or that happens, etc; etc; etc;.

There is no doubt that there will be problems in the coming years with oil lines, gas lines, etc; etc;. The Government needs to have a way to deal with them while still protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens.,

Articles like the above are mere speculation on the part of the writer, and fall under the category of woulda, coulda, shoulda, or perhaps **The sky is falling, the sky is falling**

Must be a slow news day.

You know what? I’m a white guy and I’m ready to go out there and stand hand in hand with these First Nations people. I’m tired of oil and gas companies running roughshod over our environment in order to make a buck. IMO Harper and his cronies should be taken before a human rights tribunal and sent up the river for selling out Canada and our way of life to these big corporate entities. Bill C 51 does nothing but protect corporate interests.

Bill, can you please space out your articles. The formatting makes it difficult to read.

Palupo says “Articles like the above are mere speculation on the part of the writer, and fall under the category of woulda, coulda, shoulda, or perhaps”
Exactly, and to make it worse it is based on original speculation by chief Philip. That’s quite a leap from a booked hotel room (even that may or may not be fact)

Mercenery .

On the one hand you want to protect the rights of the first nations and those who may or may not be effected by bill C-51, and then you immediately propose to take Harper and his cronies before a human rights tribunal (not sure that we have one) and then sent up the river.

Seems to me that your suggestion bypasses our legal system, and also assumes that the human rights tribunal would find them guilty and send them up the river.

What about Harper and his cronies. Are they not entitled to their day in court.?

She emphasized that the RCMP remain impartial in the dispute. In other words, they won’t move in unless there is a court injunction or someone way higher up the line who makes the order.


There you have it. And its just a matter of time and the RCMP will move in when harperman gives them the word.

Wrong Retired 02. The RCMP would move in if there were a court injunction or orders from higher up (within the RCMP).

In any event, we first have to establish that someone, somewhere, is breaking the law, then determine if it is necessary to have them arrested or moved. That determination will be made under the same circumstances that were in effect prior to C-51. Prior to C-51 people could be held for 3 days without charge, and this has been changed to 7 days. However that is the maximum under the law. We have nothing to indicate that people would be held in jail at all.

The more likely scenario is that they would be removed from the area, charged and released all on the same day. That’s what usually happens.

Using C-51 as a political tool by the left to garner a few votes, under the guise of protecting our liberties is a bit disingenuous.

No chance the RCMP move in before the election. It would create way too big of a media storm shedding light on C-51. Harper doesn’t want that so will delay until after Oct. 19 at which point, hopefully, the NDP can repeal this nasty bill.

Palopu:”What about Harper and his cronies. Are they not entitled to their day in court.?”

Had to look up “cronies” just to be 100% sure!

Yep, there it is:

*Cronyism is partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications.*

Not a very nice habit.

How big will the camp be at minus temperatures. So who started this caterwauling about camp remove and what are their motives? The camp will not be moved but illegal acts in blocking public roads should rightly be dealt with. Oh just how did those people arrive to the camp in the first place? How do their supplies arrive?

Notice how the natives charged tolls on vehicles trying to get around an accident and forest fire. Who paid for their so called road in the first place.

Can somebody just simply “slate” a pipeline to go across someone’s property without negotiating and making the other party an equal respected partner? Come on! Sad state of affairs!

@ Steve Cooley, no i have not been outside of Canada this year. Im not sure what you mean by that. Thank you for the other party’s position on this issue though.

All political parties have cronies. So do Governments ie; Provincial, Municipal, and Regional. So do Universities and Colleges, and of course so do business, and corporations.

Cronyism is alive and well throughout the land.

Ah pal your wrong again as always.

Jeez and at first look I thought this was like another Seinfeld episode of Jimmy talking about himself in the third party….

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