Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are optimistic ahead of talks today with the federal and provincial governments over the construction of a natural gas pipeline running through their traditional territory.

“I’m quite positive. Ultimately we have to improve the relationship with Indigenous people and each of the provinces in Canada, as well as Canada itself. That’s the goal,” said hereditary chief Na’moks (John Ridsdale).

The meeting comes amid continuing protests and road and rail blockades across the country, including at the B.C. Legislature this week. The protests have been ongoing since early February in opposition to the Coastal GasLink (CGL), a 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline being built through Wet’suwet’en traditional lands.

Na’moks said it’s still premature to speculate when the blockades will end.

“Most of them [supporters] are awaiting us to request it. If they see progress then things will quickly deescalate. We just ask that things remain peaceful.”

READ MORE: RCMP cease patrols on Morice West Service Road

The talks were briefly canceled after a misscomunication last night but rescheduled within hours. Na’moks said he will have questions over the cause of that blunder.

Attending the talks in Smithers today will be Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and her provincial counterpart, B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser.

All five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs disputing the pipeline construction will be in attendance but Na’moks said they expect only to “set the stage” today for meetings anticipated to continue all day Friday.

“I’m not going to be up here burning the midnight oil when they should have been here long before,” Na’moks said. “They should have done this in 1997 when we finished the Delgamuukw court case. They just put it on the shelf and look at the position we’re in now.”

Earlier today the RCMP announced they will cease patrols of the Morice West Service Road during the talks.

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink agrees to two-day pause of pipeline construction in Morice River area

CGL also announced a two-day pause on pre-construction of the pipeline in the Morice River area.

These two conditions were critical for the hereditary chiefs to begin talks with the provincial and federal governments.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkIndigenousPipeline

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

Just Posted

COVID-19: Fraser Valley crafters are busy sewing cotton masks for health-care workers and others

One Chilliwack woman has made 125 masks so far, and is still going strong

Chilliwack teen donating stem cells for brother’s second fight with cancer

Chilliwack’s Fleming family appealing to the public to look into stem cell donation

Chilliwack couple ‘amazed’ by the Community Cares initiative

CCFC project Community Cares has ‘neighbours in need’ matched with volunteer ‘helper neighbours’

Stairs used for exercise in Chilliwack designated one-way only

The Jinkerson stairs were so crowded over the weekend that city officials had to do something

Chilliwack companies offer free meals, discount on gas for health-care workers and first responders

Sangam restaurant handing out 50 lunches a day, Chevron offers $10 off gas

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Canada’s 75% wage subsidy is coming, but not for several weeks: finance minister

Subsidy will cost Canada $71 billion, but push down cost of emergency benefit, Morneau said

Most Read