BC Premier weighs in on RCMP enforcement of a court order in northern BC
BC Premier John Horgan says RCMP enforcement of a court order in northern BC where 14 members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation were taken into custody, shows the challenges of reconciliation.
The protesters were refusing to comply with an injunction to remove a blockade that was interfering with preliminary work on a natural gas pipeline from Dawson Creek to Kitimat. While elected representatives signed on for the project, hereditary chiefs oppose it.
Horgan is clear the RCMP enforcement of the court injunction obtained by Coastal Gas Link in Wet'suwet'en territory is an operational issue for the RCMP:
" However it's my expectation that the RCMP will conduct themselves with the greatest of care to ensure that those in the territories rights are respected. It's also my expectation that all individuals will proceed to a peaceful resolution as early as possible."
Horgan says it's his view LNG Canada has shown they understand the importance of consultation and meaningful reconciliation with First Nations, which is why they have signed agreements with every First Nation along the pipeline corridor.
Horgan says the project represents great opportunity for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike, but also highlights the challenges of reconciliation.
The premier adds there is no quick fix to resolving issues that go back to 1876 and beyond, and no quick fix when it comes to addressing differences of opinion within families, communities or clans:
" I spoke to the Prime Minister last night about this. He understands, the federal government understands that BC is unique in Canada. We have unceded in ever corner of the province. We have court ruling after court ruling has affirmed we need to find a better way forward. And the old Indian Act management style still exists. And we have to find a way through reconciliation to bring together the various orders of government in Canada, and that's what we intend to do.
As for B.C.'s Forests and Natural Resource Minister and Stikine MLA Doug Donaldson visiting the camp, Horgan says he was invited and observed protocols in order to listen to concerns, and then left.
Horgan calls the visit "wholly appropriate," adding if we are going to find a solution there needs to be dialogue -- and who better than the local MLA.