A group of supporters pictured at the encampment located just before the RCMP access control checkpoint at kilometre 27 of the Morice West Forest Service Road on Feb. 5 show their support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in their fight against CGL. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Wet’suwet’en say Coastal GasLink asked Province to drop government-to-government talks

The Province denies that it walked away from discussions and says it is committed to dialogue

While it’s clear that discussions between the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the Province of British Columbia have broken down, the reason why is less so.

Speaking to a group of supporters outside of an encampment just past the 39 kilometre mark of the Morice West Forest Service Road on Feb. 5, hereditary chief Na’Moks said the reason the talks ended was crystal clear: the hereditary chiefs made it clear access would not be granted to Coastal GasLink (CGL) to access their unceded territory.

“There was a message sent to the government and they stated because there was no progress on the discussion that they suggested BC walk away from the discussion,” said Na’Moks. “We didn’t walk away but CGL instructed the Province of British Columbia to walk away.

A communications director with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation told The Interior News the Province in no way walked away from discussions. They added that the suggestion CGL in any way instructed the government at any point in the talks is false.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser previously said despite a solution not being found, they remain open to dialogue with the hereditary chiefs on the issue.

READ MORE: RCMP outline plan for ‘peaceful’ arrests as they prepare to enforce pipeline injunction

Na’Moks said that while the hereditary chiefs have always maintained CGL has been influencing government direction behind closed doors, this was the first time they had actually seen it firsthand.

“We always knew that’s what was happening but for them to just say it publicly in front of us — and we’ve got it in our minutes — this is a corporation and a company and an industry steering an elected government,” he said.

“When we’re supposed to live in a democratic country and a company is telling a government what to do your democracy is at risk.”

In an emailed response to The Interior News, CGL denied the claim.

“It’s unfortunate to hear that we played a role in the discussions ending when we were not part of the process,” a spokesperson with the company said. “We are disappointed that discussions ended without a resolution that would prevent the enforcement of the Interlocutory Injunction.”

The Interior News has also reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office for comment on the matter.

Na’Moks says he and the other hereditary chiefs expect the enforcement of a Dec. 31 interlocutory injunction relating to the dispute is imminent. In a Feb. 5 press conference the RCMP asked people to abide by the injunction.

“We encourage all of the protesters to abide by the injunction and leave the area and they will not be arrested,” said Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs, Criminal Operations Officer in charge of Core Policing for the BC RCMP.

“If there are arrests to be made, there are peaceful options that will require a minimal use of force.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Morning Start: Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin

Your morning start for Thursday, June 4, 2020

Chase man hosting concert in his driveway

Lamenting the loss of Music in the Park events due to COVID-19, Shane McMahon is putting on a show

Salmon Arm RCMP recover stolen property near Lyman Hill

One person arrested, officers appear to be searching side of Highway 1

Salmon Arm to hold two peaceful protests in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

June 4 and 6 protests to fight for justice for victims of police brutality, against systemic racism

Vehicle stolen in Revelstoke recovered near Salmon Arm after occupants suffer overdoses

Police say they were alerted to the vehicle after occupants treated by ambulance after drug use

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

COLUMN: Efforts preserve and promote local agriculture

Farming will remain an important element in the region

Federal aid for care home systems needed ahead of second wave, advocates say

Ontario Long Term Care Association calling for more action

B.C. woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Horgan calls for national anti-racism program; will pitch idea to PM, premiers

Premier John Horgan said he’s horrified by the death of George Floyd in the United States

Chilliwack dad rescues two young daughters after truck plunges into lake

“I used every single one of my angels that day,” said Dennis Saulnier

Police watchdog investigating fatal crash in Kelowna

Kelowna RCMP received a report of a single-vehicle collision on Bulman Road near Highway 97 on June 1

Kelowna council greenlights ‘The Wedge’

The wedge-shaped building will be built at the corner of Leon Avenue and Water Street

Most Read