Federal and B.C. governments agree to participate in talks to end CN blockade in Northern B.C.

Premier John Horgan speaking to reporters on Wednesday, February 12, 2020.
Premier John Horgan speaking to reporters on Wednesday, February 12, 2020. Richard Zussman/Global News

The British Columbia and federal governments have agreed to a joint meeting with the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Premier John Horgan has written to the chiefs agreeing to the talks, in part, to remove a CN Rail line blockade near New Hazelton currently blocking all shipments to the Port of Prince Rupert.

“I understand that on receipt of this letter and a similar commitment from Canada, the blockade of the CN line will be removed to allow for a period of calm and peaceful dialogue,” reads the letter sent to Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Norman Stephens.

The province has agreed to send Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser to the meeting.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en solidarity protesters demonstrate at Carolyn Bennett’s office

Story continues below advertisement

The Prime Minister’s Office has agreed to send federal Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett to the meeting. The details are still being worked out on when the meeting will take place.

The meeting is also set to discuss “how the current impasse over pipeline development arose, to discuss the current situation and to seek a process that avoids such situations in the future.”

“There has been a request from the Wet’suwet’en for the federal government to be involved for a number of weeks now. I’m hopeful it may help the situation,” Fraser said.

A date for the meeting has not yet been set.

“Reconciliation is not only an Indigenous issue – it is a Canadian imperative and one that must involve all of us,” a statement from Bennett’s office reads.

“Our government has confirmed our participation in a joint meeting with the Wet’suwet’en and the Gitxsan leadership. Minister Bennett is working with her counterpart in British Columbia to arrange this meeting as soon as possible.”

In a news release Tuesday, CN said that hundreds of its freight train runs were canceled due to the blockade.

“The Port of Prince Rupert is effectively already shut down,” CN president JJ Ruest said.

Story continues below advertisement

Letter from Premier John Horgan to Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs by Global BC on Scribd