First Nations, RCMP reach deal in northern B.C. pipeline impasse

  • First Nations, RCMP reach deal in northern B.C. pipeline impasse

First Nations, RCMP reach deal in northern B.C. pipeline impasse

He says they have the right to protest, but anyone breaking the law must also be prepared to get arrested.

Hereditary chiefs of the Wetsuweten First Nation say they've reached a deal with RCMP to allow a natural gas company access across a bridge that had been blocked in their territory.

TransCanada Corp, now officially known as TC Energy, sought the injunction so it could begin work on the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline, part of an approved $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project set for Kitimat, B.C.

The RCMP arrested 14 people on Monday and dismantled a nearby checkpoint erected by members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation, who say the company does not have authority to work there without consent from the nation's hereditary clan chiefs. They argue the elected council only has jurisdiction over the reserve, which is a much smaller area than the 22,000 square kilometres that comprise the Wet'suwet'ens traditional territory.

Premier John Horgan said Wednesday when plans for the LNG export facility were announced in October the B.C. government concluded all the conditions for the project to proceed had been met.

"All nations, from wellhead to waterline, have signed impact benefit agreements", he told a news conference in Victoria.

The hereditary chiefs spent several hours on Tuesday meeting with the RCMP and among themselves to talk about next steps.

"We would like to once again emphasize that the RCMP's focus remains on creating an environment conducive to getting all parties to come to the table and continue to participate in these fruitful discussions".

Horgan says, as the local MLA, forests minister Doug Donaldson visited the camp before a court order was enforced.

We stand in unity and solidarity with our British Columbia Wet'suwete'en brothers and sisters who courageously and determined to protect and defend fairness, justice, and the truth. "We have court ruling after court ruling that has affirmed we need to find a better way forward".

"I know people would prefer to have, what's the answer, yes or no, but there isn't one", he added.

"Development of our project will be conducted according to rigorous environmental standards, including the recognition of specific indigenous values", Gateman said. "Our people stand with all of them now as their allies and also support their posture as it connects to their title and even rights of their traditional terrain and the unwarranted violation inflicted through the federal government".

"There is a whole series of Supreme Court (of Canada) decisions that say if there are established rights and title-holders, if you are going to infringe on those rights, then you have to justify and accommodate for it", he said.

The B.C. Liberals have been demanding Donaldson's resignation.

"It has been lengthy, and in some cases a challenging journey, however, we take pride in the relationships we've developed, and the support of the communities from the twenty elected Native bands along the path, in addition to the numerous hereditary leaders that likewise support the project", this individual noted.