BURNS LAKE, BC –
Coastal GasLink says supplies such as water are at risk of running out for more than 500 workers who have been stranded for three days following blockades near a pipeline work site in northern BC.
The natural gas pipeline company said it was concerned for its workers, as the road was unsafe and impassable, hindering access to emergency medical care.
Members of the Gidimt’en clan, one of the Wet’suwet’en Nation’s five members, went into lockdown on Sunday.
A spokesman for the group said hereditary chiefs had never conceded or conceded territory and that Coastal GasLink workers were given eight hours notice to evacuate peacefully before the road was closed. fence.
However, the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, one of several elected councils in the region, released a statement on Wednesday saying members of the clan do not speak for everyone and Its people are among the workers.
The statement said elected Wet’suwet’en councils supported the project and First Nation called for an immediate end to the escalating conflict.
“Although we are also members of the Gidimt’en Clan, the protesters at ‘Coyote Camp’ and other protest sites have never consulted us about their actions and cannot claim represent us or any other member of First Nation,” the statement said.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Secretary Marc Miller said Tuesday talks between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the BC government and Coastal GasLink were at “an important junction” to reach a solution.
In both 2019 and 2020, this pipeline conflict escalated as the RCMP executed a court order issued to Coastal GasLink and arrested opponents of the project.
Supporters of hereditary chiefs staged nationwide protests to block railroads last year and draw attention to Indigenous rights and jurisdiction.
A memorandum of understanding signed since then between the federal and provincial governments and hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en has eased tensions, but Sunday’s statement from the Gidimt’en clan says an “expulsion notice” sent to Coastal GasLink by chiefs in January 2020 is being enforced again.
The natural gas pipeline project is more than half completed with almost the entire route cleared and 200 kilometers of pipeline installed to date, the company said.
This Canadian Press report was first published on November 17, 2021.