B.C. First Nation says it will protect land after arrests involving Coastal GasLink

Click to play video: 'Hearing voices from along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route'
Hearing voices from along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route
Global's Sarah MacDonald followed part of the 700 kilometer Coastal GasLink pipeline route, speaking with people living along it. All 20 First Nations along the route have signed benefits agreements with the company, and many people are counting on the jobs the project will create – Mar 4, 2020

RCMP say officers will be patrolling a forestry road in an area where two people were arrested among a group blockading a Coastal GasLink workers’ camp near Houston, B.C.

Cpl. Madonna Saunderson says in a release that police received several complaints about alleged vandalism and theft by protesters who set up a blockade outside the workers camp over several days.

Saunderson says the arrests were made Wednesday when RCMP were called to help keep the peace as the pipeline workers “evacuated” the camp.

She says one person was taken into custody for outstanding theft and mischief allegations before a court appearance, while the another was allegedly found in possession of stolen Coastal GasLink equipment and conditionally released before a future court date.

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Protests last year against the pipeline set off rail blockades by other groups across the country in support of the nation, but a memorandum of understanding signed between the federal and provincial governments and hereditary chiefs later eased tensions.

Click to play video: 'Protesters claim underhanded tactics by police and forest company at Fairy Creek logging blockade'
Protesters claim underhanded tactics by police and forest company at Fairy Creek logging blockade

A news release from the Likhts’amisyu, one of five bands within the Wet’suwet’en Nation, says hereditary Chief Dini ze’ Dsta’hyl was released Thursday after being held overnight.

“In observance of Wet’suwet’en trespass laws, Dini ze’ Dsta’hyl decommissioned 10 pieces of heavy construction equipment,” it says.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by both the province and all 20 elected First Nation councils along its path to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to a processing and export facility on the coast in Kitimat.

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However, the Likhts’amisyu say the First Nation was never meaningfully consulted and has never given consent to fossil fuel projects on their land.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2021.

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