Published: Thu, January 10, 2019
Markets | By Jeffery Armstrong

Demonstrations block traffic in support of Indigenous pipeline protesters in B.C.

Demonstrations block traffic in support of Indigenous pipeline protesters in B.C.

"We're starting off 2019 with a bang, " he said to cheers and applause. "Indigenous land defenders must be treated with respect and must have their right to defend their lands and territories from the impacts of industry and climate change recognized and protected".

Monday's arrests at the blockade in northern B.C. became a flash point Tuesday that sparked protests across the country.

He said he has spoken with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and is confident a peaceful resolution can be found with the hereditary chiefs.

An injunction issued last month by a B.C. Supreme Court justice, and revised last week, prohibits anyone from physically interfering with or impeding any person or vehicle trying to access the area or carrying on pipeline business, including pre-construction and construction activities.

The checkpoints are meant to keep workers away from the construction site for TransCanada PipeLines Ltd.'s $4.7-billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline, which will deliver natural gas from Dawson Creek to a planned LNG Canada facility near Kitimat.

"You also see an embarrassing sequence of events where highly trained police are pushing people to the ground", said Walby.

Members of the RCMP's Aboriginal Police Liaison have also met with the Wet'suwet'en chiefs and indicated that specially trained tactical forces will be deployed to forcibly remove people from sovereign Wet'suwet'en territory.

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An RCMP operation to enforce a court injunction over a pipeline dispute in northern B.C. has come to an end for now without further arrests, APTN News has learned.

"The big thing is we've got to be able to support our communities that said yes to this (project) because it's their community that needs that financial benefit", he said.

Coastal GasLink said it has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nations along the pipeline route, including the Wet'suwet'en.

"Building consensus under duress will make the resolution of the situation in northern British Columbia very hard", Perry Bellegarde said in a statement Tuesday.

KTW called Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir to learn where the Tk'emlups band stands on the issue, but a band spokesperson said Casimir will not comment.

"When we have grey areas and uncertainties, that's when the tensions arise and that's where people get frustrated, and I understand that frustration", he added. "Real consensus will be built when the parties, with very different views, come together in meaningful and productive dialogue".

One of Tuesday's largest protests began on Parliament Hill and proceeded through downtown Ottawa.

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Of the arrests, he said the First Nations have every right to exercise dissent, but they have to understand the consequences of breaking the law.

"To me they're working for the company, they're not keeping no peace".

"Our government is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation, and partnership", a representative for the minister said in a statement.

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, who represents the area, said the conflict has been developing for years - in part because of a failure to recognize the nuances between elected and hereditary Indigenous governments.

"What happened today is that our trespass laws were broken, but according to Canadian law, which is being steered by industry, they say that these people are now criminals", said Wet'suwet'en Chief Namoks streamed on Facebook Live. In much of Canada, land rights are determined by treaties signed between the colonial government and indigenous tribes.

The checkpoints were blocking access to a liquefied natural gas pipeline construction site in northern B.C. One has been in place for nearly a decade and includes a camp and gate that obstructs the Morice West forest service road and the Morice River Bridge.

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