AT the March 29 regular meeting of Delta Council, Mayor George V. Harvie provided the following notice of motion regarding support for Indian farmers, which was considered and supported by Delta Council at the April 12 regular meeting of Council:
“For the last five months, millions of farmers across India have been peacefully protesting the introduction of new agricultural legislation which they believe will adversely affect their livelihoods. They are concerned the new laws will drive down their products’ prices with no safeguards to protect them against corporate takeovers and exploitation. They also claim the government did not hold sufficient consultation with stakeholders before signing the laws.
“Thousands of British Columbians including Delta residents have family, friends and loved ones directly and indirectly affected by this issue. Many of them have multi-generational ties to farming communities in Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan in India and are increasingly worried for the safety and financial security of their loved ones. It has been extremely stressful for them to witness the reaction to the farmers’ peaceful protests over the last four months. To date, over 300 farmers have died while participating in the ongoing protests. Scores of our residents have shared their deep concerns with me over the developments and have been showing their support for Indian farmers at demonstrations locally in Vancouver, Surrey, and Delta. I understand their anguish and with Council’s support for the Notice of Motion, wish to extend our support to their right to protest peacefully.
“Canada has been a consistently strong voice for the protection of human rights and the advancements of democratic values and we take our human rights obligations seriously. The widespread support from elected officials across party lines from all levels of our government for the protesting farmers is a testament to our duty to promote and protect human rights under International Law and the United Nations Charter.
“The cornerstone of a democracy is the right to protest peacefully and for the media to have the right to report.
“As Mayor of Delta, the Notice of Motion – Support for Indian Farmers was brought forward for Council’s consideration. The intention of the motion is to resolve THAT the City of Delta stands in solidarity with the Indian Farmers and supports their rights to expression and liberty and against any repressive measures to curtail their ongoing peaceful protests.”