A Nelson police officer speaks with protesters outside Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall’s office during a rally on Jan. 30. Mungall has closed her office following a meeting with three protesters on Monday. Photo: Tyler Harper

B.C. energy minister closes Nelson office after protester chains self inside

The incident happened after a meeting between Michelle Mungall and Coastal GasLink protesters Monday

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall has closed her office after a meeting with Coastal Gaslink protesters ended in one of them being chained to the front door.

A protest against the construction of a Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline on unceded Wet’suwet’en land was held outside Mungall’s Nelson office on Jan. 30, during which demonstrators demanded a meeting with Mungall.

Mungall, the province’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, agreed to a 30-minute meeting with three demonstrators on Monday.

“When the time came to conclude our meeting they became very verbally aggressive and on their way out the door one of them chained themselves to my office door and police had to be called,” Mungall told the Nelson Star, a Black Press Media publication.

“That’s not a safe work environment for my staff, so until people have cooled off my staff are working from home.”

Sgt. Dan Markevich of the Nelson Police Department told the Star that officers removed the chained protester from inside the office but made no arrests.

WATCH: Nelson protesters rally in support of Wet’suwet’en pipeline blockade

READ MORE: More than a ‘protest camp’: Unist’ot’en camp residents on life on the land

READ MORE: Unist’ot’en demand Coastal GasLink stop work at northern B.C. pipeline

One protester has remained camped outside the office, located at 433 Josephine St., which has remained closed since Monday. Mungall said she does not yet know when the location will reopen, but said constituents can still contact her staff via email and phone.

Kiala Loytomaki, one of the people who met with Mungall, said the group had requested the minister alongside the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission issue a stop-work order to Coastal Gaslink pending an audit of the province’s role in the pipeline’s construction.

“When we started asking her questions, she said she wanted to engage in respectful dialogue and that she wouldn’t answer yes or no questions because that was not respectful dialogue,” said Loytomaki, who characterized the meeting as professional and non-violent.

The provincial government announced Thursday it was meeting with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in March to begin a process of reconciliation.

“This process has emerged from decades of denial of Wet’suwet’en rights and title. Both parties believe that the time has come to engage in meaningful nation-to-nation discussions with the goal of B.C. affirming Wet’suwet’en rights and title.”

The statement adds “our commitment to lasting reconciliation is not connected to any specific project.”

Loytomaki promised further, peaceful action from local activists.

“We’re not going to stop trying to have a conversation with Michelle until she shows that she has a heart in this and cares about Indigenous people on these lands that we’re illegally occupying right now,” she said. “There will be more to come.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Year-round training envisioned for Salmon Arm’s Rapattack base

Mayor hopes council’s support of Rapattack will pay off in longevity for base

Letter: Better fix needed than what’s proposed for Balmoral Road/Highway 1 intersection

Province already behind on widening of Trans-Canada Highway

Salmon Arm approved for worker based in Vernon to support homeless

While application to Ministry of Social Development gets nod, one to BC Housing denied

Column: Potentially valuable WorkSafeBC review let down by bias

Notes from the Legislature by Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo

Boil water notice rescinded for Yard Creek Campground

Interior Health water testing shows acceptable levels of bacteria

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

UPDATE: Crown cross-examines B.C. father accused of killing daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

In photo: Mount Ida Painters Guild’s works on display

Eleven artists featured in show at Senior Citizens Drop-in Centre, Aug. 23 and 24

Most Read