A group of supporters pictured at the encampment located just before the RCMP access control checkpoint at kilometre 27 of the Morice West Forest Service Road on Feb. 5 show their support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in their fight against CGL. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

Hereditary Chiefs say CGL asked B.C. to drop talks after making clear no access would be granted

The Province denies that it walked away from discussions and says it is committed to dialogue

While it’s clear that discussions between the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and the Province of British Columbia have broken down, the reason why is less so.

Speaking to a group of supporters outside of an encampment just past the 39 kilometre mark of the Morice West Forest Service Road on Feb. 5, hereditary chief Na’Moks said the reason the talks ended was crystal clear: the hereditary chiefs made it clear access would not be granted to Coastal GasLink (CGL) to access their unceded territory.

“There was a message sent to the government and they stated because there was no progress on the discussion that they suggested BC walk away from the discussion,” said Na’Moks. “We didn’t walk away but CGL instructed the Province of British Columbia to walk away.

A communications director with the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation told The Interior News the Province in no way walked away from discussions. They added that the suggestion CGL in any way instructed the government at any point in the talks is false.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser previously said despite a solution not being found, they remain open to dialogue with the hereditary chiefs on the issue.

READ MORE: RCMP outline plan for ‘peaceful’ arrests as they prepare to enforce pipeline injunction

Na’Moks said that while the hereditary chiefs have always maintained CGL has been influencing government direction behind closed doors, this was the first time they had actually seen it firsthand.

“We always knew that’s what was happening but for them to just say it publicly in front of us — and we’ve got it in our minutes — this is a corporation and a company and an industry steering an elected government,” he said.

“When we’re supposed to live in a democratic country and a company is telling a government what to do your democracy is at risk.”

In an emailed response to The Interior News, CGL denied the claim.

“It’s unfortunate to hear that we played a role in the discussions ending when we were not part of the process,” a spokesperson with the company said. “We are disappointed that discussions ended without a resolution that would prevent the enforcement of the Interlocutory Injunction.”

The Interior News has also reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office for comment on the matter.

Na’Moks says he and the other hereditary chiefs expect the enforcement of a Dec. 31 interlocutory injunction relating to the dispute is imminent. In a Feb. 5 press conference the RCMP asked people to abide by the injunction.

“We encourage all of the protesters to abide by the injunction and leave the area and they will not be arrested,” said Assistant Commissioner Eric Stubbs, Criminal Operations Officer in charge of Core Policing for the BC RCMP.

“If there are arrests to be made, there are peaceful options that will require a minimal use of force.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

John Horgan has been re-elected the MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca. (File-Black Press)
Horgan trounces challengers to be re-elected in his Vancouver Island riding

MLA has represented constituency of Langford-Juan de Fuca and its predecessors since 2005

Screen shot of a cabin somewhere in the Bulkley Valley from rare 1955 film footage of the area.
VIDEO: More rare film footage of the Bulkley Valley in 1955

Can you help identify the locations and/or people in these videos

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

(Facebook video screenshot)
Tsilhqot’in leaders call for suspension of officers seen in controversial Williams Lake arrest

Disturbing video demands an immediate, independent investigation, says TNG

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Alex Cuba took the stage this summer at a scaled back Canada Celebration. (Marisca Bakker photo)
Alex Cuba, up for two Latin Grammy awards, will perform on show November 19

Alex Cuba, up for two Latin Grammy awards, will play on show November 19

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Most Read