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UPDATE: Council condemns surveillance of First Nations

Maude Barlow and Tsilhqot’in leaders

Maude Barlow and Tsilhqot’in leader

The CBC reports, “The federal government stepped up surveillance of First Nations across Canada shortly after the 2006 election to better monitor political action such as protests over land claims, according to internal Indian Affairs and RCMP documents obtained by a Mohawk policy analyst. The Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada was given the lead role to monitor First Nations, according to the documents, copies of which were given to CBC News.” The CBC report is at http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/06/13/first-nations-documents.html. A recent Vancouver Media Co-op article has also highlighted the Harper government’s surveillance of First Nations activists. That report is at http://www.mediacoop.ca/story/first-nations-under-surveillance/7434.

Among the First Nations being monitored include those the Council of Canadians works with directly or have supported including the Tsilhqot’in (to defend Fish Lake from Schedule 2, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=2902), the Wet’suwet’en (against the Enbridge pipeline, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=7531), Grassy Narrows (who had their waters polluted with mercury, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=3237), the Algonquins of Barriere Lake (on resource extraction, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=4712), and the Mohawk Nation at Kahnawake (who oppose Bruce Power’s plans for radioactive shipments on the Great Lakes, http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=6406).

The Council of Canadians condemns the surveillance of First Nations by Indian Affairs and the RCMP. Instead of spying, we believe the Harper government should be respecting Indigenous rights – starting by fully endorsing the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (including recognition of the right to free, prior and informed consent), and fully addressing the right to water and sanitation (by spending $1 billion this fiscal year to build, upgrade and maintain water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities, as well as $1 billion in 2012-13 and 2013-14).