B.C. Indigenous group anticipating RCMP action at anti-LNG pipeline camp

KITIMAT (NEWS 1130) – Uncertainty is building among an Indigenous group in a remote part of northern BC who fear RCMP officers are soon to act on their opposition to the proposed LNG project in Kitimat.

Dozens of police vehicles have been seen arriving in Smithers and Houston this weekend, with officers expected to start enforcing a BC Supreme Court injunction allowing Coastal GasLink to start work on a 700-kilometre pipeline through the territory.

The Gidimt’en camp is using an access point to control who can get into the territory. In a Facebook video, spokeswoman Molly Wickham says they’re bracing for an “imminent police invasion.”

“People like to think that things have gotten a lot better in so-called Canada and in our communities and that things are not the same that they were 150 years ago but that’s a fallacy, it’s false,” she says in the video.

RELATED: Environmental and economic development choices split Canada’s First Nations

TransCanada has said it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the pipeline route to LNG Canada’s $40 billion liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, B.C.

But Wickham says the company does not have the authority to build through Wet’suwet’en territory because the house chiefs, who are hereditary chiefs rather than elected band council leaders, have not given consent.

On Dec. 14, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs issued a statement saying they were deeply concerned by the National Energy Board’s decision denying their request to participate in a jurisdictional challenge to the permits issued to TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline project, which would cross Wet’suwet’en territories.

RELATED: LNG Canada partner Petronas cuts natural gas output due to plunging prices

In a statement released on Sunday, the RCMP says the safety of the police and public is its primary concern as it plans for the enforcement of the injunction.

“We would like to emphasize that the RCMP respects the Wet’suwet’en culture, the connection to the land and traditions being taught and passed on at the camp, and the importance of the camp to healing,” read part of the statement. “Should enforcement take place, the RCMP will be prepared to ensure the safety of everyone involved – demonstrators, police officers, area residents, motorists, media and general public.”


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