Wet'suwet'en

We Are All One Planet

We Are All One Planet

We need all hands on deck to support Wet’suwet’en, who are defending all of us by challenging Canada’s climate inaction.

Two Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs have launched a legal action to hold the governments of Canada and British Columbia accountable to climate commitments for future generations.

A win for Wet’suwet’en in a win for us all, that would put in place safeguards so that projects and policies could only be adopted based on an assessment of climate impacts: for now, and for future generations.

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about this campaign

A Charter Climate Challenge

Since time immemorial, the Wet’suwet’en have been stewarding and protecting their territories. Now, they are defending land, air and water for all of us with a historic and sweeping climate justice challenge. 

Launched in February 2020, the two Likhts’amisyu Clan House Chiefs’ legal action is a challenge asking the Federal Court to declare that Canada has a constitutional duty to keep the country’s greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the Paris Agreement global warming limit of well below 2 ̊C above pre-industrial levels. The claim is focused on the inability of House members to safely and healthily live in their territories and practice their culture and way of life in a world threatened by climate change. The claim focused on the Charter rights — guaranteed to every citizen — relating to equality and to life, liberty and security of the person.

A Road Block from Canada

After the Houses launched their case, Canada brought a motion to have the matter dismissed: the Crown argued that the matter was not one within the ambit of the court to decide. While the Federal Court deemed it 'non justiciable' — see sidebar — the Houses appealed this decision. In 2023, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the claim relating to section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms — the right to life, liberty and security of the person — was justiciable and can move forward to a trial on the merits of the claim.  

This would be the first time in Canada that a trial would decide on reductions to greenhouse gas emissions, as opposed to reductions in greenhouse gas targets.  It would also be the first time in Canada, and perhaps the world, that a trial would decide on a climate claim brought by plaintiffs constituted under their own indigenous laws.  Canada has until the last week of February to appeal the FCA decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

While the claim seeks a court order requiring the federal government to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, it leaves it to Parliament and cabinet to decide how best to do this. Outside of their climate court action, the Houses will continue to advocate that the emission-reduction burden should not unfairly fall on them and their territories or on other vulnerable groups.

“The climate crisis is already hitting our House territories hard. You only have to look at the shrinking Hudson Bay Mountain glacier and count the salmon. If Canada is allowed to continue approving infrastructure for fracked gas projects on a 40-year timeline, our territories will become a wasteland before the project licenses expire.”

-Dini Ze’ Lho'imggin, Alphonse Gagnon

Wet'suwet'en:
A Timeline
  • December 2023

    APPEAL GRANTED 

    Federal Court grants appeal by Wet'suwet'en in the Misdzi Yikh Charter challenge.

  • Februrary 2023

    APPEAL OF JR DECISION 

    Federal Court hears Wetsuwe'ten's appeal of the Nov 2020 decision.

  • April 2021

    JR APPLICATION DISMISSED

    BC Supreme Court dismisses the Wet’suwet’en Application for a Judicial Review of B.C.’s decision to extend the environmental certificate for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

  • December 2020

    WET'SUWET'EN APPEAL

    Likhts’amisyu Clan of the Wet’suwet’en appeals the Federal Court’s decision to strike the Charter challenge.

  • November 2020

    FEDERAL COURT STRIKES

    Federal Court strikes Likhts’amisyu Charter challenge as “not justiciable”, i.e. not appropriate for the court to decide.

  • October 2020

    JUDICIAL REVIEW

    Judicial Review of BC's granting of permit extension to Coastal GasLink heard October 1-2; at issue are multiple permit violations and a failure to apply recommendations of the Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women and Girls Report. 

  • February 2020

    RCMP RAID

    Coastal GasLink crews attempt to re-start work in the Morice River area, resulting in RCMP enforcement action on Indigenous land protectors.

  • February 2020

    SOLIDARITY ACTIONS

    Solidarity protests and actions erupt in support of Wet'suwet'en across the country: Kahnawake Mohawk community members south of Montreal erect a blockade on a CP rail line.

    #WeAreTheStronghold concerts organized; $40k raised before COVID-19 shutdown cancels shows in Ottawa & Winnipeg. 

  • January 2020

    EVICTION ORDER ISSUED

    Dark House (Unist’ot’en) notifies Coastal GasLink of eviction from territory, citing violations of Indigenous law. 

  • January 2019

    INJUNCTION GRANTED TO CGL

    BC Supreme Court grants CGL an injunction against land defenders in Wet'suwet'en territory.

  • October 2019

    JUDICIAL REVIEW LAUNCHED

    B.C. Environmental Assessment Office grants CGL an extension to their project permit, paving the way for construction in Wet'suwet'en territory. 

CAMPAIGN NEWS

VIDEO: Wet’suwet’en chiefs reveal depth of devastation, vision for repair on powerful webinar

What happens when you bring 5 Indigenous chiefs who have been fighting industry for their cultural and ecological survival together for a short, sharp hour?  You get a powerful conversation: and, an injection of hope…

What’s next for Wet’suwet’en land protectors?

“When the glacier melts, the world will catch fire.” That’s a warning, issued by elders, that drives Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs as they work to uphold their Nation’s laws. Having been sidelined in consultation processes and…

Image of an oil refining facility under dark grey skies.

Hot Take: We won?!? A chance to stop rampant LNG exports

Boy do we ever need this.  In the climate justice movement, there is slow, incremental progress and — let’s face it — a dizzying array of losses to contend with.  But yesterday’s announcement that the U.S. is…

Get Updates

The legal challenge is a constitutional and Charter of Rights challenge brought by two Houses of the Likhts’amisyu (Fireweed Clan) through their House Chiefs. The case is an ambitious, long-term legal challenge seeking a comprehensive overhaul of Canada’s environmental legislation to enable urgent action on climate change.

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Stand for Future Generations

Hereditary chiefs wholeheartedly oppose unsustainable projects that are turning pristine forests and salmon streams into a fossil fuel corridor. 

If CGL were to be built and become operational, it would irreversibly transform the ecology and character of northern B.C. It would also lock in decades of fossil fuel extraction at a time when scientists are warning of untold suffering unless all nations rapidly scale down production of fossil fuels.

Gidumten_Checkpoint_4

 

An eviction order goes unheeded

Without consulting Wet’suwet’en leadership — whose jurisdiction in their territory was established in the landmark Delgamuukw case —  companies are being given the green light to push through projects that contribute to climate catastrophe. 

From bulldozing active harvesting areas to despoiling wetlands, corporate violations have eroded Wet'suwet'en's trust that Canada is upholding Charter rights to a safe climate.  

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SerenaRyder

 

We Are the Stronghold

A magnificent response from allies and fellow Indigenous Peoples across the country and around the world brought Wet'suwet'en to international prominence. A series of "We Are the Stronghold" events - kicking off with a concert in Toronto featuring Tribe Called Red, Serena Ryder, and Logan Staats - was planned just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

Now, supporters are using their creativity and talent to host online fundraisers and virtual events in support of legal challenges that are our best chance to stop runaway climate change and enshrine the caretaker values of Wet'suwet'en leaders into law.