Bill Blair Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair arrives to a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP in British Columbia has offered to move its officers to a town away from the area where traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have been opposing a pipeline project on their territory.

Blair said on Parliament Hill Thursday morning he believes this move meets the conditions set by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and that barricades set up in solidarity with that nation should come down.

“I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down,” Blair said before a cabinet meeting.

“We have met the condition that those who are on the barricades had said was important to them before they would change their posture, and that work has been done, and I think quite appropriately.”

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.

Nationwide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to the company’s work site.

The hereditary chiefs have demanded the RCMP leave their traditional land and have refused to meet with federal or provincial officials until this was done.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increasing pressure to end the blockades, with Conservatives calling for the government to use force, while the Liberal government insists negotiations are the only way to a lasting solution.

Blair said the decision to move officers away from their outpost on the traditional Wet’suwet’en territory to the nearby town of Houston was a decision made by the RCMP in B.C. and added that he agrees it was the right move.

“I’m very proud of the work that was done by the leadership of the RCMP. Their commitment to peaceful resolution of these complex issues is, I think, quite commendable and Canadians should be very proud of the work that they do,” he said.

“It’s moving towards a less confrontational and a more peaceable arrangement entirely appropriate to the circumstances, and I’m very hopeful that will satisfy the concerns that were raised.”

READ MORE: B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

READ MORE: Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLink

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Special offer

Fuller Lake Motel message board catches motorists’ eyes

School District 79 working hard to support the community

Assistance being provided in this challenging time from COVID-19

North Cowichan was considering a 4.4 per cent tax increase in 2020

But Mayor Al Siebring suggests COVID-19 crisis could see tax proposal lowered

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Long list of events disrupted by COVID-19 around the community

Challenging situation affecting fundraisers, entertainment, sports and more

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Duncan man asks community to donate RVs to essential workers in need of quarantine

Ryan Oakley creates a Facebook group to help coordinate the effort

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

Most Read