It sounded as though progress was being made regarding the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) leaving Wet’suwet’en territory. The widespread acts of solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en have had a major impact on rail travel and blocking ships from using the Port of Vancouver.
But then this message was posted on Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory It seems the RCMP have not left.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he’s hoping the RCMP’s offer to leave their outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C. will lead to the barricades coming down, as talks aimed at ending the rail blockades crippling the country’s rail network continue.”I’m very hopeful that that will satisfy the concerns that were raised,” said Blair ahead of a Thursday morning cabinet meeting.
“I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down.”
CBC News has obtained a copy of a letter sent Wednesday from RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan to the hereditary chiefs offering to move the RCMP’s temporary detachment from near the protest site to the nearby town of Houston — as long as Morice West Forest Service Road remains clear. The RCMP confirmed that letter was sent.
“As always, we encourage dialogue over enforcement with a goal of a long-term solution,” Strachan wrote, while asking for a meeting “in the near future.”
It’s not clear yet whether the hereditary chiefs will meet with federal and provincial government representatives. Earlier this afternoon, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said she had not heard back from the chiefs on whether they will accept Strachan’s offer.
The RCMP, which acts as the provincial police service in B.C., moved in to enforce a court injunction earlier this month after the Wet’suwet’enhereditary chiefs and their supporters blocked construction of the $6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline project. The B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction in December authorizing the police to clear away the protesters who had blocked access to the public road.
B.C. RCMP say they’ll leave outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory if road is kept clear. Hereditary chiefs have said they won’t meet with government officials until the RCMP leave. Catharine Tunney · CBC News · Posted: Feb 20, 2020
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet huddled in Ottawa this morning to chart a path forward as Indigenous-led rail blockades hit their two-week mark Thursday.
“We’re working very hard to end the blockades. It’s an unacceptable situation,” said the prime minister ahead of a meeting with his cabinet on Thursday.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Quebec Premier François Legault have accused Ottawa of being too slow to act on the illegal blockades. Trudeau has agreed to take part in a teleconference call with the Council of the Federation later Thursday.
“The government has been engaging directly with provincial governments since the very beginning of this situation. This evening, the prime minister will again engage with premiers … to continue working together toward a peaceful & lasting resolution,” a spokesperson for Trudeau said.
Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett sent a letter Wednesday offering to meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in Smithers, B.C., as early as today. That meeting is not expected to happen today.
This is the second offer by Bennett to meet in person with chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink project that has gone unanswered. A spokesperson for Bennett said the minister is willing to meet with the chiefs at any time and any place.
Trudeau calls blockades an ‘unacceptable situation’ as ministers wait to hear from Wet’suwet’en chiefs. Ministers’ offer to meet with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs goes unanswered. John Paul Tasker · CBC News · Posted: Feb 20, 2020
Myself and another Mom went to talk to the staff of our MP @Justin Trudeau yesterday, to share our support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and deliver a solidarity statement from our parent group For Our Kids Montreal. The staff spoke to us through an intercom and would not let us in to deliver it. They said we need to make an appointment or mail a letter. We had mailed a letter last September with our concerns about the climate crisis and have not received a reply. We will keep trying.