The RCMP has confirmed they are mobilizing in the Bulkley Valley for enforcement of a Dec. 31, 2019 Supreme court injunction granting Coastal Gaslink access to a worksite near Houston.
Staff Sgt. Janelle Shoihet, a media spokesperson said these arrangements were made prior to an announcement by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs that they had come to an into an agreement with the province to convene a discussion table referred to as a “Wiggus.” The Wiggus is in effect for a seven-day period.
Shoiet said, although additional members are still being deployed they will abide by the Wiggus, which means ‘respect’ in the Wet’suwet’en language, and not take action by removing obstacles on the Morice West Forest Service Road.
”Prior to this agreement, efforts with respect to logistics and resource deployments had been scheduled in support of anticipated police enforcement,” Shoiet said in an email. “While additional resources may be noted in the Smithers-Houston area, the resources will be on stand-by during the seven day period. The access control point at the 27 kilometre mark will remain in place along with the protocols.”
In an announcement of the Wiggus, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs said they “maintain their commitment to peace and will pursue all avenues available to achieve a peaceful resolution” but are steadfast in their mission:
“We are proud, progressive Wet’suwet’en dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of our culture, traditions and territories; working as one for the betterment of all.”
Rumours of the RCMP deployment began to circulate around Houston when three container units were installed outide the Community Hall in the town on Jan. 30. These are similar to arrangements last January when the Mounties enforced the December 2018 B.C. Supreme Court interim injunction resulting in 14 arrests.
One of the structures is a shower unit and another appears to be some form of power generator unit. The other appears to be a storage container.
This morning (Jan. 31) eight more trailers appearing to be lodging units arrived at the hall.
Following the Wet’suwet’en announcement of the Wiggus, the Premier’s office issued a statement.
“We welcome today’s announcement by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs that they will join the Province of B.C. at a Wiggus/Respect Table,” the statement said.
“This Wiggus/Respect Table is an opportunity for all parties to work in good faith towards de-escalation, and we view this announcement as a positive sign that all involved are determined to find a peaceful resolution.”
Earlier in the week, backed by the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, the Wet’suwet’en filed a complaint with Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, asking the chairperson to initiate a policy complaint and public interest investigation.
The complaint claims the RCMP roadblock is “inconsistent, arbitrary and discriminatory.”
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