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

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

COVID-19 minimizes Okanagan Regional Library budget increase

Library adapts to pandemic fiscal disruptions

Interior Health continues to tackle COVID-19

IH president Susan Brown says don’t become complacent about pandemic

Conservative opposition critic tours through Kootenay riding on listening tour

Pierre Poilievre, the Tory finance critic, gathering local feedback on pandemic supports, recovery issues

Liam’s Lowdown: Food is everywhere

Turn your garden scraps into tasty treats

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Okanagan manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

Most Read