Aug 26/98: CUPE supports Gustafsen inquiry


Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 50
#302 - 2750 Quadra Street
Victoria, BC Canada V8T 4E8

August 26, 1998

Premier of British Columbia Parliament Buildings, Victoria BC

Dear Mr. Premier:

In its regular meeting of July 15, 1998, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 50 (Victoria Outside Workers) passed the following resolution:

Whereas in 1995 the Governments of Canada, British Columbia, their agents and assigns did plan and implement the largest paramilitary operation of its kind in Canadian history against the occupants of the Ts'peten Sundance camp situated upon unceded, Shuswap traditional territory near Gustafsen Lake;

And Whereas serious questions concerning the conduct of the state and certain officials, as well as a "smear and disinformation" campaign to demonize the Sundance Camp occupants, and suppress their legal issues of indigenous sovereignty and jurisdiction, remain unanswered, and should be examined in a full and open public inquiry;

And Whereas both the Federal Government of Canada and the Premier of BC have thus far refused to convene such a public inquiry - Premier Clark stating: "I believe the provincial government and Attorney General took the right course of action to end the armed occupation at Gustafsen Lake";

And Whereas the Ts'peten Defenders, Wolverine and OJ Pitawanakwat, continue to be held as political prisoners as a result of their defensive actions against the paramilitary invasion of sacred, unceded Shuswap territory;

And Whereas, they and many others share the view that a comprehensive public inquiry is essential. These include: Lil'Wat Estken, Moloqhil Tinamat, Defensoria Maya (Guatemala), Te Ropa Maori, Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Native Peoples (CASNP), The Green Group of the European Parliament, The Black Community Collective, Black Autonomy International, The Afrikan Frontline Network, Anti-Racist Action (ARA) Kingston, Settlers in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty (SISIS), Free Wolverine (Seattle), North West Leonard Peltier Support Network, Aboriginal Rights Coalition Victoria (ARC), Council of Canadians, (Victoria), Building Bridges to Chiapas, The National Green Party of Canada, Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General of the USA and Counsel for Leonard Peltier, Ts'peten Defence Committee, Incomindios, For Mother Earth (Belgium), National Campus/Community Radio Association (NCRA), Teaching Support Staff Union, Simon Fraser University (TSSU), and many other groups and individuals, that appreciate the critical importance of an inquiry;

And Whereas this includes Resolution No. 19/97 moved by Joan Philip (proxy) of the Penticton Indian Band of the Okanagan Nation and adopted by the Assembly of First Nations, to whit:

Subject: Call for Inquiry into Canadian Government and Police Actions

Whereas in both the Gustafsen and Ipperwash incidents, the actions of government and police officials in using excessive force against First Nations citizens is unacceptable; and

Whereas governments are attempting to prevent the public from hearing the truth about these incidents;

Therefore be it resolved that the Confederacy of Nations supports the demand for a full and comprehensive public inquiry into all aspects of the Gustafsen Lake and Ipperwash matters; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED That the Assembly of First Nations will take full responsibility for establishing a mechanism to ensure that a public inquiry takes place into all aspects of the provincial and federal governments actions at Gustafsen Lake, BC and Ipperwash Ontario.

- Phil Fontaine - National Chief

Be It Therefore Resolved That, Cupe Local 50 supports the call for a public inquiry and urges others in the labour movement to join this call. We further call for the release of those Ts'peten Defenders still imprisoned.

John Burrows: President Cupe Local 50



To sign the petition demanding an inquiry, send an email to with "petition" in the subject line and the words "I support the petition for a full public inquiry into the events surrounding the Gustafsen Lake crisis," your name and city/country of residence in the body of the message, or visit

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