OTTAWA, ON – Jamie Schmale, Shadow Minister for Crown-Indigenous Relations, Gary Vidal, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Services, and Bob Zimmer, Shadow Minister for Northern Affairs and Northern Economic Development Agency, issued the following statement on the Liberal government’s exclusion of elected Wet’suwet’en Chiefs and community members from a Memorandum of Understanding on land rights and titles:
“This secret deal negotiated by the Trudeau government is going to divide the Wet’suwet’en community further and goes against true reconciliation.
“For the consultation process to have any semblance of credibility, the elected Chiefs have requested an opportunity for full and informed consent. This includes full engagement with the elected Chiefs and the people of Wet’suwet’en and requires the disclosure of the MOU to the communities in advance of consultations. Due to COVID-19, it is unsafe for members to gather to discuss the MOU and this stands in direct opposition to the spirit of true reconciliation.
“The current health crisis should not be used as an opportunity to sideline the Wet’suwet’en people and their elected Chiefs in this process. The federal government should be bringing the community together rather than actively excluding Wet’suwet’en members and stoking divisions within the community. There needs to be a consultation mechanism that honours both their traditional House system, and the governance responsibilities of elected chiefs and councils.
“We support the Wet’suwet’en elected Chiefs and community members in calling for the federal government to temporarily halt any announcements on the Wet’suwet’en Memorandum of Understanding.
“This is why we are calling on the Trudeau government to honour the request of the elected Chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en and to uphold the principles of openness and transparency to ensure full and open consultation with community members.”