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Grand Chief Stewart Phillip warns of overreach of Bill C-51

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Compiled by Debora Steel







Bill C-51, the anti-terrorism act, has gone to theHouse of Commons, but one B.C. Indigenous leader is warning that the bill “will radically and dangerously expand the powers of Canada’s national security agencies and greatly infringe upon the rights of all citizens without making us any safer or secure.”

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, said the “sweeping scope” of the Bill “violates the ability of all Indigenous Peoples to exercise, assert and defend their constitutionally-protected and judicially-recognized Indigenous Title and Rights to their respective territories.” He called it “absolutely appalling” that protecting Indigenous territories could result in facing “insidious, provocative and heavy-handed powers” that come with C-51.

“As an act of civil disobedience, I was arrested at Burnaby Mountain because I believe mega-projects, like Kinder Morgan and Enbridge pipelines, do not respect the Indigenous laws and inherent authority of Indigenous Peoples to protect their territories, land and waters from the very real potential and increased risk of oil spills and increased coast tanker traffic along our coast. I believe under the draconian measures of Bill C-51, I would be identified as a terrorist. Regardless, I will continue to do what is necessary to defend the collective birthright of our grandchildren.”