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

Child care planned for Vernon schools

Proposal for four facilities at area elementary sites

Majority of students back in Vernon classrooms

Vernon School District reports 95 per cent of students returned amid COVID-19

Fewer people, but more visits added to Vernon museum

‘Often, you may have the entire museum to yourself and your group, which could be very cool.’

Travel from Coldstream to Lake Country along Kal Crystal Waters trail

Completed extension on Kal Crystal Waters trail uses historic highway

Major UBCO bus changes from Vernon eliminate Oyama, include Kelowna

Oyama Isthmus loop removed, stop across from Kelowna airport added

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

Rail traffic starts moving after 60-car derailment near Hope

Clean up effort ongoing after 60 cars carrying potash crashed along a rail bridge

Spoon-wielding man draws police presence in Penticton

Police say no one was harmed during the incident

B.C.’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan: Top 5 things you need to know

Jobs training, tax incentives for employers to hire staff and more

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Most Read