Work must stop on the Trans Mountain, Site C, Coastal Gas Link projects until First Nations approval, says the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. I say that claim's not worth the paper it’s printed on, nor the time it takes to read. And that was before I read the news reports that the Committee Chair, and by extension, the rest of the Committee, was unaware that most affected First Nations support these projects.
The original headline is nothing new, nothing different, and unfortunately, pretty much summarizes what we can expect from the United Nations. Another baseless report from an ever-increasing irrelevant agency.
Can we believe any UN committee reports such as this? Is the UN only a mouthpiece for complainants and just rubber stamp requests from those who take the time to complain? Don’t agree? Then read for yourself and make your own determination. Follow this link to read their edict.
If there is one thing that is consistent with these types of UN reports is that they have no real interest in facts, or sovereign government laws, processes, and court precedent.
“That is good,” the UN supporters would say. “That is their job, to step in when governments fail to address basic human rights.”
Except, nothing in these three project approvals violated anyone’s basic human rights.
What one won’t find in this report are any facts or otherwise corroborating evidence that was used in making this determination. No references to official government reports, no in-person inputs, no references to Canadian court decisions, and no references to the consultation logs from project proponents.
The report only contains allegations and references of wrongdoings, which makes me wonder.
If all I did was read the UN report and nothing else, I could make the assumption that the rights of Indigenous peoples have been and continue to be severely trampled; that Canada, B.C., and project proponents have no respect for laws, for basic human rights, and have done nothing in terms of consulting with affected First Nations.
I could also be led to believe that when Indigenous people do protest and the RCMP is called, that they only respond with violence.
For those who have followed the long and sad saga of protest on these projects, they understand that this is not true. They also understand the truth does not appear to matter to the United Nations. And, for these three projects, the truth does not matter for those protesting.
It also appears the UN is happy to use social media and alt-left news reports to base their findings. It doesn’t appear to matter that when the RCMP are met with violence, they must respond with force in return.
The report does not contain any reference to court orders, no references about warnings given to protesters that if they continue their blockades they will be arrested. Nowhere is there a reference that a majority of First Nations and Indigenous people support these projects and feel consultation has be done to an acceptable.
That is all left out, deliberately or otherwise. And for the Chair to infer that it is not their job to research complaints is completely bogus. No credible organization ignores facts or prepares reports without them.
With B.C.’s recent adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into law (details still to be determined), and with Canada considering the same, there will be even more confusion and more complaints to the UN.
One place for the UN to begin fixing their process is to dismiss and bar complainants when they do not provide all relevant facts.
Evan Saugstad is a former mayor of Chetwynd, and lives in Fort St. John.