Wet’suwet’en Elected Chiefs are calling for the statement that was released last week about the Hereditary Chiefs signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with BC and Canada be withdrawn.
According to the Elected Chiefs, they have not agreed to or have given their support to sign the MOU.
“Discussions must adhere to a process where all clan members, Hereditary Chiefs, and Elected Chiefs have an opportunity for full and informed engagement, as well as full consensus. These discussions have not taken place,” the Chiefs said in a statement.
The statement also said the consultation process lacked any credibility because the province, Canada, and the Hereditary Chiefs ignored many clan members and Elected Chiefs.
“All clan members have a voice that must be heard, and they must be included in the process of ratifying any agreement with government officials,” The chiefs said.
A group of Conservative MPs, including Prince George-Peace River- Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer is in support of the Elected Chiefs to halt the announcement on the MOU.
The Conservatives are also calling for the Trudeau government to honour the request of the elected chiefs to ensure the principles of openness and full and open consultation with community members.
“The secret deal negotiated by the Trudeau Government is going to divide the Wet’suwet’en community further and goes against true reconciliation,” said the MP’s in a statement.
According to the MP’s the Elected Chiefs are asking for full engagement with the chiefs and the Wet’suwet’en people but understand it is not possible right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The current health crisis should not be used as an opportunity to sideline the Wet’suwet’en people and their elected Chiefs in the process,” the Conservatives said.
On Thursday, senior ministers from B.C. and Canada and the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs confirmed they have given their support to sign the MOU.
It was reached after three days of talks in Smithers on Feb 29.
The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have invited Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, Scott Fraser and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett to sign the MOU on May 14.