In preparation for the upcoming COP15 meeting, the Canadian government has made itself a part of the "High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People". According to the coalition's website, it is "working towards a global agreement to protect at least 30% of the world's land and oceans by 2030 at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15)".
At first glance, the principles guiding this coalition seem laudable: "Indigenous peoples and local communities are the protectors of the world's richest biodiversity sites. To effectively and equitably achieve this enhanced goal, they should be engaged as partners in the design and management of these conserved areas, ensuring free, prior and informed consent and respect for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."
This all sounds very nice. But we have every reason to doubt the good faith of the Canadian State, which, as we recall, blocked the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for a decade, with the support of other countries that are similarly products of white colonialism and occupation: the United States, Australia and New Zealand. And, since its adoption in 2007, not much has changed. Nearly 15 years later, as a result of significant mobilization and pressure from Indigenous communities, Canada finally passed legislation that incorporated the Declaration into the Canadian legal framework in June 2021.
In spite of this, the legislation has not stopped the government from sending its colonial police, armed with assault rifles, to remove the Wet'suwet'en from their ancestral territory, in order to allow the construction of a gas pipeline under the Wedzin Kwa River a few months later. If the Canadian state were truly committed to the protection of biodiversity, it would first and foremost stop the extractivist and colonial invasion of Indigenous land.
Nor has it stopped Canadian mining companies from continuing to exploit Africa and South America, with the support of Canadian embassies, while violently suppressing any attempt to oppose these ecocidal projects. Canadian mining companies are known throughout the world for the havoc they wreak on communities: the destruction of ecosystems, sexual violence, kidnappings, political assassinations-- no strategy seems to be off-limits when it comes to safeguarding the capitalist exploitation of these regions.
The hypocrisy of this government has no limits. Its laudable rhetoric before other heads of state will not distract us from the struggle we are waging: against capitalism, colonialism, imperialism and all other systems of power that ensure the comfort of some through the exploitation of others.