OTTAWA — It looks like Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are moving the goalposts as the federal and provincial governments try to resolve the ongoing blockades and protests over a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.
A day after demanding the RCMP remove a mobile detachment along the route of the proposed pipeline, hereditary chiefs who oppose the project say it’s not good enough now that the Mounties have agreed. Reports suggest they want Coastal GasLink crews to clear out, too.
Federal minister pledges to meet chiefs in B.C. over natural gas pipeline
This comes as the federal Crown-Indigenous relations minister is offering to meet Thursday with hereditary chiefs in B.C.
But while Carolyn Bennett and her provincial counterpart Scott Fraser say they’ll be in the town of Smithers to talk about reducing tensions over the construction of a pipeline in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory, the chiefs are supposed to be in Ontario.
The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory, where community members have blocked a key east-west rail link between Toronto and Montreal in support of the chiefs’ cause.
The Coastal GasLink project that would bring natural gas to a liquefaction facility and export terminal on the B.C. coast.
Nationwide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to the company’s work site.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increasing pressure to end the blockades, with Conservatives calling for the government to use force, while the Liberal government insists negotiations are the only way to a lasting solution.
Reports also suggest hereditary chiefs want to speak directly with Trudeau, instead of just government ministers.