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Canada Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs won't talk with Trudeau and Horgan until Mounties leave

10:05  19 february  2020
10:05  19 february  2020 Source:   vancouversun.com

'Unacceptable': B.C. premier responds after 'unprecedented' demonstrations outside B.C. Legislature Tuesday

  'Unacceptable': B.C. premier responds after 'unprecedented' demonstrations outside B.C. Legislature Tuesday Premier John Horgan said hundreds of protesters supporting hereditary leaders of the Wet'suwet'en Nation in a demonstration at B.C.'s legislature Tuesday went too far.Horgan addressed media from Victoria Wednesday, following what he called a 24-hour period of reflection after hundreds of demonstrators stood in the way of arriving members of the legislative assembly. Some reported being pushed and spat upon, as they made their way to work.

day and began after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police began arresting Wet ’ suwet ’ en protesters, has been Looming over Mr. Trudeau and his cabinet as they looked for a solution to the blockade are who is in charge of issues like health care and education, spent about nine hours in talks with

Wet ’ suwet ’ en Nation supporters gather at Confederation Bridge. Oilsands firms see trend of benefits from emission cutting targets, observers say. But while the talks have been represented as a joint meeting with the Gitxsan and Wet ’ suwet ’ en chiefs to engage in dialogue on how the impasse over

a man holding a sign in front of a crowd: A supporter of the indigenous Wet'suwet'en Nation holds a sign before a march, as part of a protest against British Columbia's Coastal GasLink pipeline in Toronto on February 17, 2020.© CHRIS HELGREN A supporter of the indigenous Wet'suwet'en Nation holds a sign before a march, as part of a protest against British Columbia's Coastal GasLink pipeline in Toronto on February 17, 2020.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have refused an offer to meet with cabinet ministers from the federal and provincial governments until the RCMP leave the Morice Forest Service Road.

On Sunday, Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, and Carolyn Bennett, federal Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, sent a letter to Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs asking to meet as soon as possible to “talk about finding a peaceful resolution to the blockades across the country and other issues arising from the concerns of Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.”

Canadian Press NewsAlert: Blair says RCMP have met Wet'suwet'en conditions

  Canadian Press NewsAlert: Blair says RCMP have met Wet'suwet'en conditions OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP in British Columbia have met conditions set by traditional leaders of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation opposing a pipeline project on their territory. He says he believes barricades set up in solidarity with that nation should come down. The Wet'suwet'en's hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would bring natural gas to a liquefaction facility and export terminal on the B.C. coast.

As the Wet ' suwet ' en solidarity protests spread across the country, we break down the issues at play with the help of Indigenous Lawyer Naomi Sayers. Protesters in solidarity with the Wet ’ suwet ’ en hereditary chiefs and their supporters are blocking a new set of rail lines in Vancouver Saturday.

say they’re supporting hereditary Wet ’ suwet ’ en chiefs opposed to the construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline through their On Monday, the ministers tasked with Indigenous relations for B.C. and the federal government said they’re ready to meet with Wet ’ suwet ’ en hereditary chiefs

However, on Tuesday afternoon Chief Woos of the Grizzly House said all hereditary chiefs agreed they would not meet with government until the RCMP removed their mobile command unit across the bridge from the Unist’ot’en camp on the forest road that links Houston to a Coastal GasLink work camp.

Chief Smogelgem, of the Sun House, went a step further saying chiefs also wanted all Coastal GasLink permits pulled before they would meet.

Staff Sergeant Janelle Shoihet said the RCMP were aware of the chief’s request “to remove a mobile policing unit from an area in northern British Columbia where they enforced an injunction against pipeline opponents this month.”

She said discussions were underway with all stakeholders.

An emergency debate was also held in the House of Commons on Tuesday night to consider the Wet’suwet’en blockades. According to Vancouver East MP Jenny Kwan, who was at the debate, Bennett told the house she would not agree to asking the RCMP to leave the forest service road. Given Bennett is in Ottawa, it is unlikely she would be available for a meeting called at short notice.

The latest drama in the continuing anti-pipeline crisis came as a meeting was called for Wednesday afternoon in Houston B.C. to hear from Wet’suwet’en members who are in favour of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Trudeau promises update on blockades as Wet'suwet'en chiefs meet Mohawk supporters

  Trudeau promises update on blockades as Wet'suwet'en chiefs meet Mohawk supporters OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a meeting of his emergency-response team in Ottawa this morning. He promises a full account of his government's work to clear transportation blockades in an afternoon news conference. Meanwhile, a group of hereditary leaders from the Wet'suwet'en Nation in British Columbia is to spend the day with Mohawk supporters in Ontario. The B.C. hereditary chiefs are thanking the Mohawks for supporting them in opposition to a pipeline project on their traditional territory by blocking a critical rail line between Toronto and Montreal.

The Wet ' suwet ' en hereditary clan chiefs assert Aboriginal title, or exclusive rights to the land, over 22,000 square kilometres of northern British While ongoing talks between the Wet ' suwet ' en and B.C. government may not directly address the Coastal GasLink project, he said reaching a self-governance

READ MORE: Wet ’ suwet ’ en solidarity protesters block CN rail lines in East Vancouver, Amtrak affected. Since that police action, several other First Nations and protest groups acting in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs have blocked rail lines and ports across the country in an effort to disrupt

“This event is meant to be a safe place for people who support the project to be heard,” said organizer Steve Simon, who is a Victoria-based resource advocate working with the Kitimat-based group The North Matters. The event starts at 2 p.m. at the Pleasant Valley Plaza Theatre.

Simon said that six speakers had promised to show up, but he would not name them because he claimed they would be subject to threats from other Wet’suwet’en members.

“The situation in the past few weeks has blown out of control across the nation,” Simon said.

a group of people holding a sign:  A couple of hundred protesters took part in a rally in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs at the Manitoba Legislature on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Josh Aldrich/Winnipeg Sun/Postmedia A couple of hundred protesters took part in a rally in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs at the Manitoba Legislature on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020. Josh Aldrich/Winnipeg Sun/Postmedia

What started as a localized protest by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the natural gas pipeline being laid through Wet’suwet’en territory has turned into a Canada-wide protest, with a wide-range of activists blocking roads, railways and access to government buildings.

At its root is a divide between Wet’suwet’en members who want an estimated $250 million in benefits that Coastal GasLink has offered five elected Wet’suwet’en bands, and those supporting the Wet’suwet’en’s 10 hereditary chiefs who are opposed. The bands that have signed access and benefits deals are the Witset, Wet’suwet’en, Skin Tyee, Nee-Tahi-Buhn and the Ts’il Kaz Koh (Burns Lake Band). The only Wet’suwet’en band not to sign is the Hagwilget, in the northernmost part of the nation’s 22,000 square kilometre territory.

Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs arrive in Kahnawake, Que.

  Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs arrive in Kahnawake, Que. KAHNAWAKE, Que. — Traditional chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation have arrived in Kahnawake, Que., as they continue their tour of Mohawk communities in eastern Canada where rail blockades in solidarity with their cause have been erected. Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would carry natural gas to the B.C. coast, though others in the community support the pipeline. Countrywide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to a Coastal GasLink work site.

The umbrella organization for the Wet’suwet’en First Nation is the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, that is governed by representatives from the nation’s five clans and five elected bands, though the balance of power is weighted in favour of the clans that have 13 hereditary house chiefs (though three of those positions are vacant.)

The hereditary chiefs claim responsibility for all the nation’s territory, while the bands are responsible primarily for the small reserve lands apportioned to them by the federal government.

An example of the divide between band and hereditary clan/house is the election of the Witset band council (the largest of the bands) last year.

Recently-appointed hereditary chief for the Sun House, Warner Naziel — known as Smogelgem — and Freda Huson, a wing chief for Dark House, attempted to get elected on an anti-pipeline ticket and failed. They are now key players in the continuing protest. Huson was a two-time elected councillor.

The most active houses in the pipeline dispute are Dark House (Big Frog Clan), Grizzly House (Wolf and Bear Clan) and Sun House (Fireweed and Owl Clan.)

According to a 2018 affidavit signed by former Coastal GasLink Indigenous services consultant Claire Marshall, B.C.’s Environmental Assessment Office set out which Indigenous groups needed to be consulted about the pipeline. However, the Calgary-based company also sought out other Indigenous groups and in the summer of 2012 had its first meetings with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, and in 2015 began meeting directly with hereditary chiefs.

Blockades remain in place as Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

  Blockades remain in place as Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C. Hereditary chiefs from Wet'suwet'en First Nation were expected to return to British Columbia Sunday after visiting Mohawk communities in eastern Canada, with no signs that blockades crippling the country's rail network will come down. The actions are in solidarity with hereditary chiefs contesting a British Columbia natural gas pipeline and after two weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that while his government is ready to talk,  the blockades must come down. The traditional chiefs visited supporters in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and Kahnawake, south of Montreal, this week, saying their conditions for talks remain the same.

Marshall said Coastal GasLink met with three female chiefs: Theresa Tait-Day (House Beside the Fire), Darlene Glaim (Grizzly House) and Gloria George (Sun House). Those women went on to form the Wet’suwet’en Matrilineal Coalition, in a bid to come to an agreement with Coastal GasLink.

Since then, all three women have been deposed and replaced by anti-pipeline chiefs.

Marshall wrote that Coastal GasLink had 120 in-person meetings with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en or hereditary chiefs, but dealt with Freda Huson from Dark House separately. She wrote that Dark House refused “capacity funding” from the company.

Huson also repeatedly refused various overtures from Coastal GasLink, stating she was not interested at all in any pipeline being built through Wet’suwet’en territory.

Huson was arrested two weeks ago when the RCMP, acting on a court order in favour of Coastal GasLink, broke through a barricade at the Unist’ot’en Camp on the Morice Forest Service Road southeast of Houston. This was the final blockade preventing workers from accessing a camp. Those workers, including at least two dozen Wet’suwet’en, are now living in the camp and clearing a path for the underground pipeline east toward Kitimat, where the LNG Canada plant is being built.

Related

Meanwhile, business groups are calling on the federal government to take steps to immediately restore disrupted rail service.

Dennis Darby, chief executive officer of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, said the situation is “beyond serious.”

The group estimates that goods worth about $425 million were being stranded every day the blockade continues.

Darby said it would take three to four days of work to recover from a single day of disruption.

His message was underscored by Maple Leaf Foods president Curtis Frank, who said Canada exported 60 per cent of its pork products and needed an urgent government response to resolve rail blockades.

dcarrigg@postmedia.com

with files from Canadian Press

B.C. gives Horgan poor marks on handling of pipeline dispute, according to poll .
A large majority of British Columbians polled said B.C. premier John Horgan is doing a bad job at dealing with the protests and blockades.The Angus Reid Institute poll surveyed 201 British Columbians, with 65 per cent saying Horgan is doing a bad job and 18 per cent saying he is doing a good job.

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