Mike McKenzie is an Indigenous youth advocate, former National Youth Representative in Canada, and Youth Representative in the Secwépemc Nation.
Modern genocide in Canada, perpetuated by the Government of Canada, the Crown, and Crown-Corporations, is ongoing, and fundamentally illegal. The Trans Mountain pipeline was originally built in the 1950’s. The Crown and the Government of Canada assumed jurisdiction that ultimately considered indigenous people lesser people. My father was taken away from his community and he was put into residential school. This happened under the current Queen of Canada.
The pipeline crosses hundreds of waterways, areas already protected (Provincial Parks, National Parks, and at least one UNESCO world heritage site), and it crosses unstable terrain. While opposition is widely understood, nations like the Tsleil-Waututh Nation have conducted their own environmental review of the project. The Secwepemc people were also supposed to review the pipeline project, as per the same process that the KGHM Ajax Mine completed – this was not possible due to the politics of the pipeline.
The project did not receive Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC).
When asked, most band councils have reported they did not have the option to consent to the project. Many said that they could either accept a monetary benefit or lose benefits altogether. The pipeline company regularly cited their illegal ownership of the pipeline.
In 2018, the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwépemc people, allied with other nations, defeated the Kinder Morgan expansion project in court. The company was sold to the Crown immediately in the minutes following the court decision. Trudeau spoke publicly and chose to ignore the people who defeated this pipeline, he told the public that this pipeline would still be built. By the very definition of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent, he failed to consult in good faith when he promised to build it anyway.
The Prime Minister of Canada carried on with a fraudulent consultation process in months to follow. Ultimately, the people who defeated the pipeline were still not given the opportunity to give Free, Prior, and Informed Consent to the project. Trudeau ignored most of the same people that defeated the project in court. The Prime Minister committed to the project before consulting the indigenous people.
10 years ago, on December 2, 2010, forty-four (44) elected leaders (under the Indian Act) represented their communities and signed a declaration to protect the Fraser River Watershed from all oil pipelines coming from Tar Sands projects. 30 additional elected leaders (under the Indian Act) supported and signed the declaration. Even by this standard, the Crown has truly dishonored indigenous consent. Save the Fraser Declaration: www.savethefraser.ca
In 1763, the Crown made a Royal Proclamation that was meant to protect these lands from development and settlement. It is apparent that the Crown, and, by extension, the Government’s of Canada, have ignored these directives, therefore developing these lands anyways. This is also in contravention to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
It is my opinion that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should be investigating Canada for crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and crimes of aggression. Under the Nuremburg trials that laid the foundation for the severity of these crimes, it was widely recognized that each individual has the moral obligation to choose whether or not they will participate in these crimes. Each of you addressed in this letter are highly respected around the world, and, in that way, able to account for your actions.
As a young child who lived off the land, my father was taken away to residential school. After 11 years, he returned to a community with little left. He spent most of his life sober, to take care of many of those left in our communities. Queen Elizabeth II has been the Queen throughout my father’s entire lifetime. Arguably, all of this traces back to this Queen’s rule over Canada.
We are not the only people calling for the cancellation of the TMX pipeline. Recently, the government’s energy regulator advised against the expansion. “Emissions from the oil and gas sector alone are on track to exceed Canada’s emissions reduction target in 2050 by 81 per cent—even with a 100 megatonne (Mt) per year cap on oil sands emissions (as evidenced from the latest CER oil and gas production forecast, coupled with the latest Environment Canada emissions report).”:
This past Wednesday, one of President Joe Biden’s first acts in office was to cancel the KXL pipeline. There are echoes around the world, “climate leaders don’t build pipelines.” Pressure is mounting.
Colonization is alive and well in Canada. This letter is vast reminder of the Crown’s determination to colonize our lands. Indigenous people have done the work. The reports are being ignored.
On the 5-year anniversary of the release of the findings and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Commissioners released a new statement, ending that “this is not an anniversary for celebration, but one for national honesty, and urgent and meaningful action”.
I personally know people who have been seriously harmed. According to the Holocaust encyclopedia, of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, “Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
a. Killing members of the group;
b. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
e. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”
Sovereign Secwépemc people have consistently sent representatives letters and communications against this development. April Thomas, one of the Sovereign Secwépemc, personally visited the United Nations CERD in Geneva, Switzerland. April was one of the Sovereign Secwépemc people who were arrested while opposing construction on the site. Meanwhile, it is actually the Government of Canada, the company, and the RCMP who are trespassing on these lands. These agencies are factually in violation of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and thereby, this is factually treason. The Government of Canada, the company, and the RCMP, are each conducting overt action, showing criminal intent, and furthering the accomplishment of a crime. In this case, the crime is genocide, acting against a proclamation of the Crown, and crimes against humanity, including crimes of aggression.
The Crown told these sovereign people, this past Wednesday – in the BC Supreme Court, that they could go to prison for their actions. This would be totally inappropriate, given that the Crown would be forcibly removing these Indigenous people from their lands, further imprisoning them in an illegal occupation of those lands. The Crown is violating these people’s rights. Subsequently, the Crown is harassing, bullying, and attempting to trick these people into believing that they have none.
I am calling on the Governor General of Canada, Richard Wagner – Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, to immediately cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, especially in the Secwépemc Nation. It is my opinion that the Chief Justice of Canada is accountable to international law, especially the United Nations and the crimes of genocide. I understand that you are in a unique position, considering the Chief Justice is not regularly the Governor General. I believe you are obligated to act.
Just recently, “In a rebuke to Canada, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has expressed regret that work continues on the Coastal GasLink Pipeline, the Trans Mountain pipeline, and the Site C dam without the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.” This letter was dated November 24, 2020: https://thenarwhal.ca/un-rebukes-canada-industrial-projects/
I am calling on the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to use every option available to investigate, prosecute, and advocate against genocide and crimes against the Secwépemc people. I enter into evidence, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. We are in an unprecedented time in Canada, the Prime Minister publicly acknowledged genocide. I believe that the International Criminal Court should have immediately opened an investigation. It is possible that there is a conflict of interest, given that the Deputy Prosecutor of the ICC is a position currently held by Canada. Nevertheless, the UN has a wide-ranging capacity to support the Secwépemc, I ask that you make this the utmost priority.
I ask for true accountability from the Crown. From one Sovereign to another Sovereign, I am calling on the Queen of Canada, Queen Elizabeth II, to make an order for the Governor General of Canada to position the Canadian Armed Forces to force stop all RCMP paramilitary operations against Indigenous peoples, specifically the Indigenous people that you have, by law, the fiduciary responsibility to protect.
I have written this letter with the full support of my elders.