Federal minister Lametti’s office targeted by group who say they support Unist’ot’en

A purported “pro-Unist’ot’en” activist group is claiming credit for vandalizing Federal Justice Minister David Lametti’s constituency office in Montreal.

In an anonymous message posted to French-language anarchist website “MTL Contre-Info,” the culprits explain how they “emptied an extinguisher full of paint inside [the building] after breaking the window” under cover of night between Thursday and Friday.

Those responsible say they were angered by the RCMP’s arrests of six land defenders near the Unist’ot’en camp.

“No facet of Canadian ‘justice’ – its courts, its laws, its cops, or its ministers – has legitimacy on stolen land and we are going to make it known,” the statement reads. “F*** the RCMP. Unconditional solidarity with the defenders of the Wet’suwet’en land.”

By afternoon, the shattered outside window of Lametti’s office in the Ville-Emard neighbourhood had been patched up, but a large splatter of fuchsia paint remained visible from the street.

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(The shattered window at Justice Minister David Lametti’s office in Montreal. Photo: Lindsay Richardson/APTN)

When contacted, a spokesperson for the Justice Minister’s office said they were aware of an incident in Montreal but had no further information or comment to make.

Montrealers, both Indigenous and non, continue to show support for the anti-pipeline activists at camp Uni’stot’en – including rallies at two universtity campuses, highway convoys, blocked rail lines, and the delivery of an “eviction notice” to the RCMP’s downtown headquarters.

But a local Wet’suwet’en woman wants to make clear that not all acts of solidarity are welcome.

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Last week, approximately 50 members of a group called “Solidarite Unist’ot’en” blocked the Highway 720 exit leading into the city during rush hour by setting a barricade of traffic cones on fire. They also suspended a banner reading “#WetsuwetenStrong” across the Highway sign.

In a statement, the group said they’d continue to “answer the call of Wet’suwet’en” and “support their struggle by any means necessary.”

Marlene Hale, the B.C. born activist who refers to herself as “the only Wet’suwet’en in Quebec,” said at a student-led demonstration on Wednesday that the group’s actions were “hurtful.”

“We want to keep things peaceful – we don’t want to put our anger out there,” she told APTN News.

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During Wednesday’s demonstration on a busy downtown street corner, Hale and other supporters all held up eagle feathers in a symbolic gesture of peace – a callback to Ossie Michelin’s iconic 2013 photo taken in Elsipogtog, N.B., wherein a young woman holds up a feather while faced with an oncoming wall of RCMP officers.

There are alternative – and constructive – options, she says, instead of destroying public property in support of the Wet’suwet’en.

Writing to local, provincial and Federal representatives, for example, or holding fundraisers to support the camp’s legal fund. The camp’s website can be consulted for information about supplies needed.

“We’re also really worried about the protection of all people. It’s really important that we keep the struggle up, we keep the fight strong and ourselves strong, but we do it in a mindful way,” Hale added.

Reporter / Montreal

Lindsay was born and raised on the unceded territory of Tiohtià:ke (Montréal), and joined APTN News as a Quebec correspondent in 2019. While in university, she collaborated on a multiplatform project about the revitalization of the Kanien’kéha (Mohawk) language to commemorate the International Year of Indigenous Languages. Before APTN Lindsay worked at the Eastern Door, CTV Montreal and the Montreal Gazette.