Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives to a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau promises update on blockades as Wet’suwet’en chiefs meet Mohawk supporters

B.C. hereditary chiefs are thanking the Mohawks for supporting them in opposition to Coastal GasLink

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a meeting of his emergency-response team in Ottawa.

He promises a full account of his government’s work to clear transportation blockades in a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday.

Meanwhile, a group of hereditary leaders from the Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia is spending the day with Mohawk supporters in Ontario.

The B.C. hereditary chiefs are thanking the Mohawks for supporting them in opposition to a pipeline project on their traditional territory by blocking a critical rail line between Toronto and Montreal.

A notice telling police and reporters to stay away says the gathering is to celebrate friendship, healing, peace and optimism, and to talk politics.

The chiefs have scheduled their own news conference at the blockade near Belleville, Ont., this afternoon.

The rail blockade, and others like it across the country, went up after the RCMP enforced a court injunction against the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and supporters, forcing them off an access road to a worksite for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The hereditary Wet’suwet’en leaders say they’re willing to talk with representatives of the Crown, but only after the RCMP and Coastal GasLink workers have left their traditional lands.

On Thursday, the RCMP in B.C. sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, telling them the force intends to move its officers out of the territory and station them instead in the nearby town of Houston.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he believes this move meets the original conditions set by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and that the time has come for the barricades to come down.

Trudeau has been under increasing pressure to end the blockades, with Conservatives calling for the government to use force, while the Liberal government insists peaceful negotiations are the only way to a lasting solution.

Canada’s premiers are among those pressing for a swift resolution, including Quebec Premier Francois Legault, who said Thursday provincial police in Quebec would dismantle a blockade in a suburb south of Montreal as soon as an injunction was granted.

Canadian National Railway received a court injunction to end the blockade in St-Lambert Thursday, but so far police have not moved in.

Trudeau spoke with Canada’s premiers Thursday evening by teleconference, and an account of the conversation from his office stressed his recognition of the need to restore rail service across the country and that the federal government is looking at all options to resolve the current interruptions given the impact on the economy.

Trudeau called it a “complex issue” on which he working closely with B.C. Premier John Horgan. He also noted his hope that the RCMP’s offer to withdraw from the traditional territory in B.C. will lead to a meeting between Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to address both urgent and longer-term issues.

ALSO READ: Protesters say they will maintain blockade near Chase ‘as long as it takes’

READ MORE: Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkIndigenousPipelineprotest

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

About one-sixth of students in School District 83 choose to ‘restart’ June 1

Superintendent of schools expects numbers may increase as word of safety protocols spreads

Drugs, machete found in truck with stolen plate driven by Salmon Arm man

Chase RCMP arrest driver and have vehicle towed

Column: Shuswap Emergency Program an important asset for region

Council Report by City of Salmon Arm Councillor Kevin Flynn

Trial of accused in Salmon Arm church shooting expected to be brief

Crown won’t dispute not criminally responsible by way of a mental disorder defence

Okanagan home sales increase over last month, still below 2019 numbers: OMREB

Sales, listings see increase over May’s numbers but dwindle in comparison to 2019

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Princeton RCMP sergeant kills cougar threatening residential neighborhood

An RCMP officer shot and killed a cougar, close to a residential… Continue reading

Pilot project approved: Penticton to allow alcohol in outdoor spaces

For almost two hours, council debated the proposed pilot project, before eventually passing it 4-2

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Top cop calls video of Kelowna Mountie striking suspect ‘concerning’

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

HERGOTT: Can you get money back if COVID-19 disrupts plans?

Paul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer based in West Kelowna

Most Read