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