Pipeline impasse continues as talks between BC Government and Wet'suwet'en Chiefs break down

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BC's Indigenous Relations Minister says he remains hopeful the province and Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs can iron out their differences, despite the breakdown in discussions over the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
 
The two sides were expected to hold seven days of meetings, aimed at de-escalating the dispute -- amid concerns the RCMP were about to enforce a court injunction to allow CGL work crews to begin constructing the pipeline through Wet'suwet'en traditional territories.

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[From Unist'ot'en video / YouTube]
 

 

Scott Fraser says the meetings were respectful but he couldn't agree to a demand from the chiefs to cancel permits issued for the project.
 

"They asked questions about the permits and could they be pulled, and I explained that the project was given the okay in 2018, the project is underway, the courts have affirmed that the company has the legal right to work in the territories," he said.

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[Scott Fraser, BC Minister of Indigenous Relations & Reconciliation]

Fraser says he was hoping to the sides could negotiate an access protocol agreement during the negotiations, similar to one reached last year -- but they were unsuccessful.

"What I was hoping that we all could agree to was a temporary access protocol agreement similar to what was in place a year ago to allow the company access which is what the courts had ordered basically in their injunction," Fraser said.


Hereditary Chief Woos (Frank Alec) says the chiefs remain committed to the Wiggus Development Process and will continue discussions with the province.

 

But he also says dozens of RCMP officers have been gathering near the disputed area and he believes enforcement is imminent.

 

The Chiefs have been posting videos on social media, showing RCMP surveillance helicopters circling over the Unist'ot'en healing centre in the area.


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[From Unist'ot'en video / YouTube]