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Canada RCMP checkpoint the latest flashpoint in northern B.C. gas pipeline dispute

09:20  15 january  2020
09:20  15 january  2020 Source:   globalnews.ca

B.C. First Nation serves eviction notices to company looking to build gas pipeline

  B.C. First Nation serves eviction notices to company looking to build gas pipeline The letter, signed by a number of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, says Coastal GasLink workers are "currently trespassing" on its unceded territory.The Wet'suwet'en First Nation issued the notices Saturday night to Coastal GasLink for an area within their traditional territory near Houston, B.C.

The RCMP have entered a fortified checkpoint on a forest service road in northern B . C . where people at the Gidimt'en camp were barring a pipeline company from access. Indigenous elders have sworn to block construction of the natural gas pipeline .

RCMP say they arrested 14 people from a blockade in northern B . C A pipeline by TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink is to carry natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat, B . C . Hereditary chiefs’ opposition to the pipeline intensified last month when the company secured an

a person standing next to a car in the snow: An RCMP officer checks credentials at a checkpoint near the route of a disputed natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.© Global News An RCMP officer checks credentials at a checkpoint near the route of a disputed natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.

Amid temperatures closing in on -40 C, both sides of a dispute over a proposed natural gas pipeline through northern B.C. are digging in.

The RCMP moved in Monday to set up an "access control checkpoint" over a key service road leading to a Coastal GasLink work site near Houston B.C. The work is part of a $6.6 billion project meant to feed the $40 billion LNG Canada export plant being built near Kitimat.

READ MORE: RCMP establish ‘access control checkpoint’ as tensions rise over Northern B.C. gas pipeline

‘The world is watching’: B.C. pipeline opponents brace for possible police action

  ‘The world is watching’: B.C. pipeline opponents brace for possible police action People living in the Unist’ot’en camp that's blocking access to a critical pipeline work site near Houston, B.C., are growing "uneasy" about police action.The deadline for an injunction against the Wet'suwet'en Nation to clear the way for Coastal GasLink workers came and went Friday with no agreement between the two sides and the RCMP staying tight-lipped on when — or if — they will enforce the court order.

RCMP officers switch between shifts near their roadblock as supporters of the Unist'ot'en camp and Wet'suwet'en First Nation gather at a camp fire off a logging road near WATCH: A deal was reached between protesting First Nations and RCMP , allowing crews access to a B . C . gas pipeline project.

RCMP have set up a roadblock near the site of a disputed pipeline project in northern B . C . Sarah MacDonald reports.

A B.C. Supreme Court injunction issued late last month ordered that any and all obstacles to pipeline construction be removed, though it remains unclear when or if police will enforce it.

Hereditary chiefs with the Wet’suwet’en Nation oppose the project, saying it violates Indigenous law and does not have consent.

The Wet’suwet’en and supporters have set up their own camp along the road, and allegedly cut down trees to block access.

"We’re on guard here. And just ready for any scenario, really," said Sabina Dennis of the Wet'suwet'en ​Dakelh Cariboo Clan.

READ MORE: ‘The world is watching’: B.C. pipeline opponents brace for possible police action

"I’d like people to know that we are under Wet’suwet’en law where we stand. I feel like I myself am under Wet’suwet’en law."

RCMP set up blockade on trucking road at centre of Indigenous pipeline dispute

  RCMP set up blockade on trucking road at centre of Indigenous pipeline dispute The RCMP set up a checkpoint on Monday afternoon along the remote Morice West Forest Service Road, meaning anyone trying to access three Aboriginal protest sites and a pipeline work camp will need police permission to pass. Dawn Roberts, spokeswoman for the B.C. RCMP, said the “access control checkpoint” had been established at the 27 km mark of the forestry road that starts on Highway 16, 5 km west of Houston. “The purpose is to mitigate safety concerns related to the hazardous items of fallen trees and tire piles with incendiary fluids along the roadway, as well as to allow emergency service access to the area,” Roberts said in a prepared statement.

HO/The Canadian Press. RCMP arrested 14 people on a northern B . C . forestry road on Monday, escalating tensions over a proposed natural gas pipeline Those arrested included Molly Wickham, a spokeswoman for what is known as the Gidimt’en checkpoint , and others who had been at the site

RCMP have set up a roadblock near the site of a disputed pipeline project in northern B . C . Sarah MacDonald reports.

The RCMP say the checkpoint is to "mitigate safety concerns," and that chiefs, government officials, accredited journalists and people delivering food will be allowed through.

But the checkpoint has already drawn heavy criticism.

"A police exclusion zone smacks of outright racism and the colonial-era pass system sanctioned by the so-called rule of law, which our people survived for far too long,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) in a statement Tuesday.

READ MORE: Premier John Horgan says Coastal GasLink project will proceed even with Wet’suwet’en opposition

The UBCIC said the BC Civil Liberties Association is filing a legal complaint against the checkpoint, arguing that police had already denied access to two people delivering food.

The Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) is also speaking out against the checkpoint, warning that police could use the exclusion zone to prevent media from covering RCMP enforcement of the injunction.

RCMP say ‘miscommunication’ led to 3 people turned away from northern pipeline checkpoint

  RCMP say ‘miscommunication’ led to 3 people turned away from northern pipeline checkpoint The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has filed a legal challenge against the checkpoint, saying "miscommunication" is "not an acceptable answer."The checkpoint was set up Monday to "mitigate safety concerns" surrounding camps set up by hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nation and their supporters in efforts to block construction of the pipeline project.

The RCMP say it has arrested 14 people Monday evening for allegedly violating the conditions of an interim court injunction requiring the removal of a blockade to a forest service road in northern British Columbia that is preventing access to a pipeline project. The interim injunction issued by the B . C

The RCMP have arrested 14 people and entered a fortified checkpoint on a forest service road in northern B . C . where people at the Gidimt'en camp were The Coastal GasLink pipeline is meant to transport natural gas from northeastern B . C . to the coast where an LNG Canada facility is scheduled

“We do not want to see a repeat of last year’s behaviour, when the RCMP used an exclusion zone to block journalists’ access, making it impossible to provide details on a police operation that was very much in the public interest,” said CAJ President Karyn Pugliese in a statement.

Police were criticized for their actions in enforcing a separate injunction in the same area last year.

A December report in the U.K. newspaper The Guardian suggested RCMP discussed deploying snipers and putting children into social services during that action. Police have denied that report.

A reporter for B.C. online publication The Tyee took to social media Monday to say she'd been denied access to the site.

On Tuesday, Coastal GasLink sent a letter to Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chief Na'moks renewing the company's request or a face-to-face meeting.

Calls for dialogue as pipeline polarizes some in northern British Columbia

  Calls for dialogue as pipeline polarizes some in northern British Columbia HOUSTON, B.C. — A natural gas pipeline project has polarized many communities across northern British Columbia in a dispute a Wet'suwet'en elder says he hopes will be resolved through dialogue. Russell Tiljoe, 83, has long-established ties with the First Nation whose hereditary clan chiefs say the Coastal GasLink project has no authority to run through its 22,000 square kilometres of traditional territory without their consent.Russell Tiljoe, 83, has long-established ties with the First Nation whose hereditary clan chiefs say the Coastal GasLink project has no authority to run through its 22,000 square kilometres of traditional territory without their consent.

RCMP have set up a roadblock near the site of a disputed pipeline project in northern B . C . Sarah MacDonald reports.

The RCMP set up a checkpoint on Monday afternoon along the remote Morice West Forest Service Road, meaning anyone trying to access three Aboriginal Mike Smyth: First Nations pipeline standoff presents challenge for Horgan. First Nations chiefs in northern B . C . “evicted” a group of pipeline

"As you know, we have been granted an interlocutory injunction with respect to accessing work areas in and around the Morice River bridge and have the legal right to undertake construction," wrote CGL president David Pfeiffer.

"However, our preference continues to be resolution of issues through meaningful dialogue. We believe that by working together, we can address the interests of the Office of the Wet'suwet'en while continuing to provide significant benefits to the Wet'suwet'en and other Indigenous communities."

The Wet'suwet'en have to this point refused a meeting, and say they want to meet with the provincial and federal governments.

Ari L, a Wet'suwet'en supporter behind the checkpoint, told Global News she was there to be a pair of eyes on whatever transpired.

READ MORE: B.C. Indigenous pipeline opponents stage rallies as clock ticks on injunction order

"In my mind I was bracing myself for the worst case scenario, but I came here to bear witness to what could happen," she said.

"I think it’s really important, especially under a climate emergency, for us to support each other."

B.C. Premier John Horgan has vowed the pipeline will be built, saying it had all necessary permits and that the B.C. Supreme Court had been clear on the company's legal right to access the site.

Coastal GasLink has also secured the support of all 20 elected Indigenous councils along the pipeline route.

READ MORE: B.C. First Nation chiefs grant one-time access to pipeline worksite ahead of cold snap

However Wet'suet'en opponents say only hereditary chiefs have the authority to make decisions over unceded land.

"The band council was designed to take the power away from people. And the hereditary system was made to restore power to the people," said Dennis.

"This is going to become more of an issue for B.C. This is all unceded territory."

‘This is about our dignity’: Green MLA, MP meet with Indigenous pipeline opponents in northern B.C. .
BC Greens Interim Leader Adam Olsen and Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly were invited by the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs to hear their concerns.BC Greens Interim Leader Adam Olsen landed in nearby Smithers on Saturday after being invited by the Chiefs earlier in the week. On Sunday, he was joined by Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly, who was also invited.

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