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

Photos: Sicamous braves the frigid lake waters for polar bear swim

Eager swimers lined the lakeside despite a frosty morning

Sparks fly off Steinway Grand during Vernon Valentine’s show

CONCERT REVIEW: NOCCA piano duo impresses

Fundraiser started for mother who had stroke while visiting Central Okanagan family

Tina Parry was visiting her daughter Rita Bruce Nanakeain and grandsons when she had a stroke

Salmon Arm students win province-wide Great Waters Challenge

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Nursing students bring their passion for helping the homeless to Salmon Arm

The need for an outreach worker is near the top of their wish list

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Junior Bonspiel sweeps away the winter blues in Salmon Arm

Youth curlers take to the ice for circus-themed sompetition

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Most Read