The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is addressing this morning the tensions over a British Columbia pipeline project and the nationwide protests it’s spawned. National Chief Perry Bellegarde is seen during a speech at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is calling for calm and constructive dialogue to ease tensions over a British Columbia pipeline project and the nationwide protests it’s spawned.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde is telling reporters in Ottawa that governments and industry have to give the time and space to work with the Wet’suwet’en people.

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline through their traditional territory, though it’s received approval from elected band councils.

Since the RCMP moved in to enforce an injunction and keep the hereditary chiefs and their supporters away from the pipeline worksites, protests by Indigenous people and supporters have shut down the CN rail network in eastern Canada, suspended most Via Rail passenger service, and temporarily blocked traffic on streets and bridges and at ports in multiple cities.

Bellegarde says he has spoken with all parties involved to find a way forward.

“We say we want to de-escalate and we want dialogue,” he says.

“And I say our people are taking action because they want to see action — and when they see positive action by the key players, when they see a commitment to real dialogue to address this difficult situation, people will respond in a positive way.”

Other chiefs speaking alongside Bellegarde suggest it may be time to bring the situation to a peaceful conclusion and bring down the blockades.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increasing pressure to end the blockades, which he says he wants to do quickly but peacefully. He is set to address the House of Commons later this morning.

Indigenous-relations ministers both federally and in B.C. are seeking to meet leaders of British Columbia First Nations in hopes of finding a solution.

Also Tuesday, Via announced it expects to resume partial passenger service Thursday between Ottawa and Quebec City, including a stop in Montreal.

READ MORE: Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

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

‘We’re not going to fail you’: Chilliwack trustee sends assuring message to students

Trustee Barry Neufeld says he knows the pain of online learning, and tells kids to ‘hang in there’

Council meetings now closed to the public in Chilliwack

Changes comply with provincial orders for no public gatherings and help development applications

Chilliwack elementary schools roll parades through their neighbourhoods, past students’ homes

Unsworth and Central are two of many schools trying to connect teachers with students in fun way

Kinneman appointed CAO of the Fraser Valley Regional District

Her ‘experience and connection with the staff and FVRD partners was unparalleled’ says board chair

Chilliwack school district rolls out next year’s budget, expects COVID-19 costs to change things

Public is being encouraged to connect with the district with any questions about 2020/2021 budget

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Statistics Canada report looks at COVID-19’s impact on violence in the family

Police across Canada reported almost 100,000 cases of intimate partner violence in 2018

132,000 B.C. jobs lost just the start of COVID-19 impact, finance minister says

B.C.’s latest employment figures for March show 7.2% increase

B.C. asking companies to contribute through online COVID-19 supply hub

New platform to co-ordinate, source, expedite supplies and equipment to support front-line workers

Controls can keep Canadian COVID-19 deaths under 22,000, health agency says

With poor containment measures, the death toll could be much, much higher, the agency says

People needing addictions services feel ‘abandoned’ during pandemic, B.C.’s ex-top doctor says

Widespread job losses and more homelessness due to physical distancing at shelters have added hurdles

Canada lost 1,011,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate up to 7.8%: StatCan

Unemployment rate hits levels not seen since 2010

COVID-19 world update: 6.6 million U.S. jobless claims; alcohol sales banned in Bangkok

Comprehensive digest of coronavirus news items from around the world

Most Read