UPDATE: RCMP allay fears of ‘full-scale’ action at northern B.C. anti-pipeline camp

Protesters are seeking to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline

RCMP say they are hoping for the peaceful enforcement of a court order calling for an Indigenous anti-pipeline protest camp to stop blocking pipeline construction in northern B.C.

The statement comes after protest organizers had said on social media that they feared a ‘full-scale’ RCMP invasion of the camp.

Dozens of Indigenous peoples and supporters have been gathered at a key access point on Gidimt’en territory for months as they seek to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline from going through their lands.

The anti-pipeline camp is set up at the Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en lands to protest the pipeline, south of Smithers and west of Houston.

The proposed 670 kilometre pipeline is expected to move natural gas from Dawson Creek to the newly-approved LNG Canada export facility near Kitimat.

VIDEO: Horgan, Trudeau speak on $40B LNG Canada investment in Kitimat

In December, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the extension of an interim injunction against two First Nations camps that have been blocking the access to a LNG construction site in the northwestern B.C. community of Houston for several weeks.

According to Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, police are in charge of enforcing the injunction but it is up to “RCMP discretion to decide how and when to enforce the injunction.”

“The primary concerns of the police are public safety, police officer safety, and preservation of the right to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the Supreme Court in the injunction,” Saunderson said in a statement.

The injunction was originally granted to Coastal GasLink on Dec. 14 against the Unist’ot’en camp, another protest camp that describes its efforts as a re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land.

The Gidimt’en camp is set up near the Morice River bridge and blocks access to pre-construction works for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Saunderson said police are “very hopeful that there will not be violence or disorder” as they enforce the injunction but that the safety of police officers and the public is “paramount.”

“Our priority has been a commitment to open dialogue and our members have engaged with those leaders and Indigenous communities directly connected with the Unist’ot’en camp,” Saunderson said in a statement.

TransCanada, the builders of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, announced in September that all 20 First Nations groups along the length of the pipeline route have now signed a project agreement.

READ MORE: Protesters opposing LNG Canada drop banners inside B.C. legislature

But Indigenous protesters say they were not consulted about the project, and are just trying to protect Wet’suwet’en traditional territory.

The Gidimt’en are one of five clans that make up the Wet’suwet’en, who were the winners in a landmark Supreme Court of Canada decision that asserted the First Nation’s land rights and titles had never been extinguished.

On a Facebook page dedicated to the Wet’suwet’en Access Point, organizers said Sunday they’ve received “numerous credible tips” about a “massive police buildup in Wet’suwet’en territories.”

“We face the real and imminent threat of forcible removal from our own homelands,” the post reads.

Saunderson said there was “less than half a dozen” officers in the Smithers area currently, but said the public “may notice an increase in [police] resources” near the protest camps in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say no to approved LNG pipeline

An international day of protest is planned for Jan. 8, with B.C. rallies scheduled at the Supreme Court buildings in Vancouver and at the B.C. Legislature in Victoria.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Overworked and understaffed: More than 300 vacancies in Vancouver Island nursing

Tentative deal with province includes ‘working short premium’ to encourage hiring

CRD committee proposes ending livestock payouts to farmers

The bylaw has existed since the creation of the CRD’s animal control service in 1979

Victoria city council seeks authority to tax empty homes

Council is asking the province for the authority to invoke a vacancy tax

Backyardigans, Max & Ruby stage shows add to Family Day in Sidney

Bodine Hall shows make room for kids to sing, dance, enjoy Family Day weekend

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes says municipality will re-group after Rowing Canada decision

Haynes said he is “quite disappointed” but also respects choice of North Cowichan as national centre

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Most Read