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Meeting between Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, ministers a good first step: Horgan

Last Updated Feb 27, 2020 at 3:30 pm PST

File - Premier John Horgan holds his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)

Horgan also prepared to sit down and talk with hereitary leaders

Premier said he's been seeking peaceful dialogue for a couple of weeks

Coastal GasLink has agreed to pause construction of its natural gas pipeline as a condition of the meeting

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Premier John Horgan is looking forward to harmony after Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders meet with provincial and federal ministers.

Rail and road blockades in support for the five hereditary chiefs, who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline through their traditional territory, have caused disruptions across Canada in recent weeks.

Chief Na’Moks, also known as John Ridsdale, said in a release that the hereditary chiefs invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan to meet on their territory, but both declined.

The chiefs then agreed to meet with Federal Minster of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett and B.C. Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser in Smithers on Thursday and Friday.

Horgan said Thursday afternoon that he thinks having those ministers meet with hereditary chiefs is the best approach for a peaceful resolution.

“I am absolutely prepared to sit down and dialogue with the hereditary leaders, but it’s important that there be conditions for construction dialogue,” he added.

He also said the best way forward is the have the ministers meet with the leaders.

“I think this is a good first step.”

Horgan said he’s been seeking peaceful dialogue for a couple of weeks now.

“I’m looking forward to harmony as a result of those discussions.”

Prior to the meeting, the hereditary chiefs released a statement that Coastal GasLink has agreed to pause construction of its natural gas pipeline, while RCMP agreed to stop all patrols on the Morice Forest Service Road as a “demonstration of good faith to create breathing room for these upcoming conversation,” said Na’Moks, one of five hereditary chiefs opposed to construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline across Wet’suwet’en traditional territories.

The chiefs have committed to keep the road free of obstructions for the passage of Wet’suwet’en people and their guests without interference, says the release.