Mining, drilling, and logging corporations have been exploiting Indigenous communities for generations. Enabled by the government and unjust laws, they steal land, extract resources, and leave behind polluted water, ruined landscapes, and scarred communities.
When Indigenous activists and community leaders stand up and protest, companies regularly bring in police to silence them and even force them from their own land. In fact, a secretive special unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) was created in British Columbia with the sole purpose of suppressing protests.
The Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) was formed in 2017 and basically works on behalf of resource-extraction companies to arrest Indigenous land defenders, suppress protests, and clear the way for extraction projects to proceed.
There are no limits on the unit’s budget or jurisdiction. It takes tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, while operating with minimal government oversight. It’s not even clear how many people work for C-IRG! But what IS clear is that the unit is growing and has dispatch squads all over British Columbia intent on shutting down protests. In fact, the C-IRG was responsible for over 1,100 arrests at clear-cut logging protests at Fairy Creek, Vancouver Island, making it the largest mass arrest in Canadian history.
Ben & Jerry’s has joined a diverse network of Indigenous communities, human rights organizations, lawyers’ associations, environmental groups, politicians, and climate justice advocates to demand that the Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) be disbanded.
C-IRG only exists in British Columbia (so far) and has a mandate to respond to issues related to industry and resource extraction. There are no limits on the unit’s budget, size, or jurisdiction. There is minimal government oversight of its operations.
Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of engaging fans based on our three Core Values: (1) Social and Economic Justice, (2) Human Rights and Dignity, and (3) Environmental Protection, Restoration, and Regeneration. Supporting Indigenous rights and sovereignty is aligned not only with our three core values, but also with the 94 Calls to Action aimed at Canadian civil society to “advance the process of reconciliation.”
We have been supporting Grassy Narrows First Nation in northern Ontario in their fight to get compensation for mercury poisoning and to protect their land from mining and clearcut logging. With all of our social mission work and advocacy work, we are committed to creating meaningful partnerships to support people on the ground who are actively involved in advancing progressive change in their communities. Join the movement to support Grassy Narrows First Nation by signing the petition to protect their land.