The Green Party is calling on Justin Trudeau and John Horgan to recall RCMP from a temporary detachment set up on the Morice West Forest Service Road.
The “Community-Industry Safety Office” (C-ISO) is set up a few kilometres further down the road from an RCMP roadblock set up at the 27 kilometre point in the road.
While escorting B.C. Green Party interim leader Adam Olsen onto the territory on Jan. 18, hereditary chief Na’Moks told members of the media he specifically wanted Olsen to see the detachment and that it wasn’t simply something that could be dismantled in a few hours.
“The federal and provincial governments’ actions demonstrate complete disrespect for the constitutional role of the hereditary chiefs in the management of their land,” said Green Party Parliamentary Leader Elizabeth May.
May said she feels the way the situation has unfolded is antithetical to the spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
“This situation undermines the constitutional role played by the hereditary chiefs. The RCMP have been placed at the centre of a political battle, one which should be addressed immediately and respectfully through consultation.”
To that point she said that the Greens will ask Minister of Justice and Liberal MP David Lametti to consider reform of current Canadian injunction law which the party has characterized as turning law enforcement officers into private police for corporations.
Recently both Green MP Paul Manly (Nanaimo-Ladysmith) and Olsen flew into Smithers to come onto Wet’suwet’en territory and hear the concerns of the hereditary chiefs.
The party has repeatedly said they stand behind the chiefs’ position that no development can occur on their territory without free, prior and informed consent, which they say they have never given in the case of Coastal GasLink.
Currently the hereditary chiefs are in talks to arrange a meeting with both provincial and federal decision makers regarding the conflict.
After sending a Jan. 10 letter to Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Premier’s office offered to send Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser for a meeting in Smithers on Jan. 22.
The Interior News has learned that while Fraser was in Smithers that day, he was unable to meet with the hereditary chiefs. A subsequent meeting has been agreed upon, with a date to be confirmed.
The Interior News reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office for comment on the Green Party’s request for the federal government to recall the RCMP detachment and received the following emailed response from a spokesperson with the Office of the Minister of Natural Resources.
“Our government is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership,” it reads.
“This project went through a provincial review, and remains fully under provincial jurisdiction. We encourage all the parties involved to work together towards a solution.”