Ottawa feared repeat of 2020 rail blockades before B.C. pipeline arrests last fall

wetsueten blockade

Federal officials feared a repeat of the 2020 rail blockades one month before R-C-M-P enforced an injunction against protesters blocking access to a pipeline construction site in northern B-C.
   
Details of the rising tensions around construction of the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline are contained in briefing notes prepared for federal officials ahead of a meeting last October with R-C-M-P Commissioner Brenda Lucki.
    
The documents were released to The Canadian Press through federal access-to-information legislation.
    
They show officials were keeping a close eye on the protest sites in traditional Wet'suwet'en (wet SOO' wed en) territory, which the pipeline runs through.
    
Federal officials worried it could lead to an escalation similar to what happened in early 2020.
    
Protesters at that time blocked access to rail lines, including one between Montreal and Toronto that ground traffic to a halt for weeks.
    
Officials also noted how they found it troubling that last fall individuals involved in other Indigenous land rights protests had travelled to northern B-C, including some Mohawk members from Ontario.

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