TO: Minister of Public Safety (Vic Toews); Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada (Rob Nicholson); The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of New Brunswick (Marie-Claude Blais).
CC: The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
RE: *Launch an investigation into the actions of the RCMP with regards to the assertion of Mi’kmaq sovereignty in Mi’kma’ki and the anti-shale gas protests in Kent County, NB (within SIGUNLKTAWAK, District 6 of Mi’kma’ki,near the community of Elsipogtog);
*Immediately replace the commanding officers;
*Respect indigenous and democratic rights, as currently outlined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/const/page-15.html) (esp. Section 2b, c and d; Sections 8, 9, 10a & 11a; 15(1); Section 25; Section 35) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf) (esp. articles 2, 3, 18, 19, 26, 27, 29, 32, 37, 40.
BACKGROUND: The RCMP response to the peaceful protests (http://sacredfirenb.wordpress.com/) against shale-gas exploration in New Brunswick in the summer of 2013 has been heavy-handed, undiplomatic and has infringed both on Indigenous rights and individuals’ Canadian Charter rights to free expression.
As of the drafting of this petition, there have been over 30 arrests, several of them executed with excessive force. In recent days, a journalist has been arrested on a dubious charge in order, it is suspected, for the RCMP to gain unlawful access to his camera, phone and voice recorder. This same reporter alleges he (and presumably others) have been solicited by the RCMP to become paid informants. Elsipogtog Warrior Chief John Levi, who has been a leader of the peaceful protests, has also been arrested on a long outstanding charge and unnecessarily held over a weekend, likely as a form of extrajudicial punishment.
We, the undersigned, fear these actions constitute acts of police intimidation. We also fear that the integrity and impartiality of policing in New Brunswick has been grievously compromised. Further, we decry the RCMP’s heavy-handed, unaccountable and undemocratic approach, especially in a time when Canada and its national police force claim to be seeking a new relationship with Indigenous people.
* That the RCMP immediately replace the commanding officers with those who will respect indigenous and democratic rights;
* That the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP immediately launch an investigation into the actions of all commanding officers and their subordinates;
* And that the Minister of Public Safety and other ministers intervene to prevent police from further endangering civil liberties and Indigenous rights.