Advertisement

B.C. premier says cancelling Coastal GasLink pipeline is ‘not an option for me’

Click to play video 'B.C. Premier says disputed pipeline will go ahead' B.C. Premier says disputed pipeline will go ahead
WATCH: B.C. Premier says disputed pipeline will go ahead (Aired Jan. 13)

B.C. Premier John Horgan says he is willing to meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs under the right condition, but cancelling the Coastal GasLink pipeline is “not an option for me.”

Speaking to reporters before a planned meeting between the premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Thursday, Horgan said he would not agree to an open-ended meeting with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the pipeline project.

“The notion that it would just be somehow, you have to come and talk to me without any understanding of what the end of that discussion would be, I’m not prepared to do that,” Horgan said.

“I have no shortage of other nations, first of all, within B.C. that have exciting opportunities. And they want to work with the province, and the federal government, and their local communities to find the prosperity that we all want for ourselves and our neighbours.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been discussing path forward for a year

The provincial government continues to grapple with next steps as blockades that started in B.C. continue to spread across the country.

Horgan says he still believes the best place to start is to have B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser and his federal counterpart Carolyn Bennett meet with the chiefs.

The politicians say they are ready to attend a meeting at any time, but the chiefs have not accepted the offer, saying they’ll only meet if the RCMP and Coastal GasLink leave their traditional territory in northern B.C.

“I believe that the appropriate course is to have Minister Fraser and Minister Bennett, on behalf of the two orders of government, start that discussion. I don’t believe that I have any more magic in my pocket than Minister Fraser does,” Horgan said.

Click to play video 'B.C. watchdog on RCMP operations in Wet’suwet’en territory' B.C. watchdog on RCMP operations in Wet’suwet’en territory
B.C. watchdog on RCMP operations in Wet’suwet’en territory

The B.C. premier says his government can’t be held accountable for the decision of the chiefs to oppose the pipeline and the subsequent national reaction.

Story continues below advertisement
“He [Hereditary Chief Na’moks] refused to take the phone call. I’m not going to accept responsibility for the decisions that the hereditary leaders are taking. I’m not going to accept responsibility for the positions they’re adopting,” Horgan said.

“I do accept responsibility as head of the executive council of the government of B.C. that I stand ready to work with the hereditary leadership to find a peaceful resolution to this issue.”

Click to play video 'Poll finds growing majority of Canadians oppose nation-wide blockades in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs' Poll finds growing majority of Canadians oppose nation-wide blockades in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs
Poll finds growing majority of Canadians oppose nation-wide blockades in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

As for the arrest of three protesters, after they attempted to block his home, Horgan said his neighbours and his wife Ellie were unfairly targeted.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m hopeful it doesn’t happen again,” Horgan said.

“She [Ellie Horgan] said that she had darkness in her heart the other day and she’s never experienced that, and that’s a big deal for her. So I hope it doesn’t happen again.”

READ MORE: 3 arrests after protesters attempt to block B.C. Premier John Horgan’s home ahead of budget

The protesters were with environmental group Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island, who had been planning to disrupt the B.C. budget, which was unveiled Tuesday afternoon.

In a Facebook post published Tuesday morning, Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island said it stands in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline and accused Horgan, as well as Coastal GasLink and the RCMP, of “trespassing.”