Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs from left, Rob Alfred, John Ridsdale, centre and Antoinette Austin, who oppose the Costal Gaslink pipeline take part in a rally in Smithers B.C., on Friday January 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs from left, Rob Alfred, John Ridsdale, centre and Antoinette Austin, who oppose the Costal Gaslink pipeline take part in a rally in Smithers B.C., on Friday January 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

RCMP pipeline checkpoint ‘arbitrary and discriminatory,’ say B.C. complainants

Wet’suwet’en say RCMP unlawfully restricting access on traditional territory in Coastal GasLink fight

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs and their supporters want a public investigation into the way the RCMP are controlling access along a rural road in northern British Columbia.

The RCMP have said they set up a checkpoint along the Morice Forest Service Road south of Houston in order to prevent a dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline from escalating.

But the chiefs along with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs allege that the Mounties are unlawfully restricting access on Wet’suwet’en traditional territory.

They have submitted a complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, asking the chairperson to initiate a policy complaint and public interest investigation.

The RCMP could not immediately be reached for comment.

Harsha Walia, executive director of the civil liberties association, says the application of the RCMP’s enforcement at the checkpoint has been “inconsistent, arbitrary and discriminatory.”

Walia says the coalition has submitted eight first-hand accounts from people turned away as part of the complaint.

Irina Ceric, a non-practising lawyer who tried to visit supporters at a camp beyond the checkpoint, said she was turned away one day because she didn’t have a two-way radio and tire chains but she was allowed through the next day with no questions from a different officer about her equipment.

The B.C. Supreme Court granted Coastal GasLink an injunction on Dec. 31.

READ MORE: B.C. councillor runs afoul of Coastal GasLink protester

The RCMP have said there is an active criminal investigation underway into traps likely to cause bodily harm after patrol officers found felled trees along the road, and piles of tires with jugs of accelerant and fuel-soaked rags nearby.

“There are no reasonable and probable grounds for RCMP to randomly stop vehicles from passing through and requiring identification of all drivers and passengers,” Walia told a news conference Thursday.

She said the Mounties’ actions are “significant, arbitrary and disproportionate to the stated goal of public safety.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coastal GasLink

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

Just Posted

Fentanyl was among the drugs seized by New Hazelton RCMP in a big bust in early January. (File photo)
New Hazelton RCMP arrest five, seize drugs and large amount of cash

Police find suspected heroin, fentanyl and crystal meth during early January drug bust

Smithers Local Health area reported 32 new cases of COVID-19 for the second week of January. (BC CDC graphic)
Weekly new cases of COVID-19 rise to 32 in Smithers LHA Jan. 10 – 16

Northern Health reports 35 new cases for 501 active, 44 hospitalized, 17 in critical care Wednesday

Brett Alexander Jones is wanted on several warrants province-wide, in connection with multiple charges. Jan. 21, 2021. Kitimat RCMP photo
Kitimat RCMP searching for man wanted on several warrants province-wide

Jones is described as a five-foot 10-inches Caucasian man, with blond hair and blue eyes.

Smithers Secondary School students participate in a high performance workout in advance of the school becoming a campus of the Canadian Sport School. (Thom Barker photo)
Smithers Secondary chosen for campus of elite sport school

The Canadian Sport School provides supports and resources for high performance athletes

Robin Price in action with Thompson Rivers University women’s soccer team. (TRU photo)
Former Smithers athlete helps Kamloops homeless people

Robin Price, now a fourth year nursing student and soccer player at TRU, spearheads fundraiser

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read