Locals protest B.C. RCMP action

Irving Hamilton
January 9, 2019

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.

"We're starting off 2019 with a bang", he said to cheers and applause.

"Unist'ot'en has been holding that responsibility all by themselves, so the (Gidimt'en) chief decided it was time for all of us to physically show our support".

O'Neill also lamented how the vital question of who has authority over large swathes of northern B.C.is being fought over, 22 years after the landmark Delgamuukw v British Columbia case at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Police concerns about a protest in Ottawa forced Trudeau to move to another building close to Parliament Hill to give a speech at a forum. "And I am confident that they can do this".

Wickham was in Prince George where she said 13 people arrested for violating the court order, including her sister Molly Wickham, were scheduled to appear in court.

When Trudeau finally spoke, nearly two hours behind schedule, he did not mention the protests or address the situation in B.C. Instead, he highlighted areas where he said progress had been made, such as planned child-welfare reforms, coming legislation on Indigenous languages.

Terry Cunha, a spokesman for TransCanada, said the enforcement of the order was "taken as a last resort and a necessary action after years of attempting to engage the camp" to find a solution. She said an elder arrested on Monday had already been released.

A sign for a blockade checkpoint by the Gidimt'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation is shown in this undated handout photo posted on the Wet'suwet'en Access Point on Gidumt'en Territory Facebook page.

Wickham, who has fielded calls from India and the United Kingdom about the pipeline resistance, said it's been "surreal" to see the global response.

New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, who represents the area, said the protest he witnessed on Monday was "determined" but "peaceful".

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The march in Vancouver is part of a larger worldwide day of action organized in support of those at the Unist'ot'en camp.

The injunction is to remove anyone who interferes with a Coastal GasLink pipeline project in and around the Morice River Bridge.

Members of the RCMP will enforce a court injunction on Monday and remove checkpoints that are blocking access to a liquefied natural gas pipeline construction site in northern B.C.

The federal NDP's reconciliation critic says the justification used for the RCMP's intervention is "pretty lame" in an era of supposed reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

LNG Canada announced on October 2 that its joint venture participants had taken a positive investment decision to construct the Kitimat export facility.

In Halifax, about 150 protesters gathered on the steps of Halifax Regional Police headquarters, where the RCMP has a significant presence.

Protesters storm a building where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was scheduled to address a forum bringing together federal officials and representatives from self-governing First Nations that have "modern" treaties with the Crown in Ottawa on January 8, 2019.

Those in attendance voiced their opposition to the events in B.C. and performed traditional Indigenous rituals such as smudging, a ceremony that involves the burning of sacred herbs.

"This is wrong and we have to stop it".

"We do need to have dialogue and we do need to have all Indigenous people who are pro-(pipeline) and against to have their voice..."

- With files from Dan Healing in Calgary, Dirk Meissner in Victoria, Mike MacDonald in Halifax, Kristy Kirkup in Ottawa, Hina Alam in Vancouver and Paola Loriggio in Toronto.

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