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

Mid-Island Panago locations offer free pizza to first responders

First responder can get free pizza at Panago in Parksville, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Duncan, and Mill Bay

Ladysmith Spring Cleanup Week postponed

The decision was made to protect collection workers from possible COVID-19 exposure

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

Vandekamp moving on from Cowichan Capitals

Head coach returns to AJHL’s Grande Prairie Storm

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game developed by Crofton family just the remedy for filling time at home

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

Ongoing list of Ladysmith COVID-19 cancellations and closures

Everything in Ladysmith that has been impacted by COVID-19

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Most Read