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Northwest B.C. MLA calls on RCMP top cop to review pipeline opponents’ arrests in Hazelton

Nathan Cullen’s letter to Brenda Lucki comes after his eviction from Hazelton by Gitxsan chiefs
Nathan Cullen meets with Wet’suwet’en leaders during a blockade of the Coastal GasLink worksite near Houston in 2019. (Interior News archive photo)

Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen has called on RCMP commissioner Brenda Lucki to review police action in the arrest of two of his constituency members in northwest B.C. in November.

In the letter sent to the RCMP top cop in Ottawa, Cullen asked about the RCMP’s “enforcement behaviour” while referring to a “disturbing” video in which two young men were arrested with “undue force” last month near the New Hazelton rail tracks.

The Stikine MLA, who is also a junior provincial minister of state for land and natural operations, said that while The Police Act, RSBC 1996 provides authority at the “highest level” for provincial officials to ensure an adequate and effective level of policing resources, it also gives them the authority to hold the police accountable for their actions during the course of their duties.

“I request that you [Lucki] personally review actions referenced in this letter while considering what actions might be constituted as necessary during enforcement actions addressing civil disobedience” he wrote in the Dec. 3 letter.

Cullen’s letter came after he was served an eviction by Hazelton by hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan Huwilp Government on Nov. 26, owing to his inaction and failure to protect his constituents from the “armed RCMP.” The chiefs were referring to the arrests of two Gtixsan men who were arrested on Nov.21, near the railway line while protesting in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en pipeline opponents near Houston.

READ MORE: Gitxsan hereditary chiefs issue Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen eviction notice from Hazelton

Cullen told the Terrace Standard that he had not yet received a response from Lucki’s office.

The RCMP Commissioner’s office has also yet to respond to Black Press Media’s request for comment.

Meanwhile, Cullen met with the Gitxsan hereditary chiefs who evicted him in two separate meetings last week.

Cullen’s eviction notice has not been rescinded yet, said the Gitxsan Huwilp Government in an email statement, but they said that they have seen the letter sent to the RCMP commissioner.

“Nathan has agreed to help find capacity funding to support the Gitxsan’s work with the RCMP,” said a spokesperson for the Gitxsan Huwilp Government adding that the MLA requested a proposal that they will be submitting within 10 days. This document and plan will address a proper protocol for RCMP to address blockades and injunctions, they said.

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About the Author: Binny Paul

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