Work on Coast GasLink resumes after Wet’suwet’en deal with government

Published On March 2, 2020 | By Galvin Zaldivar | News
FILE PHOTO: Supporters of the indigenous Wet’suwet’en Nation’s hereditary chiefs block the Pat Bay highway as part of protests against the Coastal GasLink pipeline, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada February 26, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Light/File Photo
Galvin Zaldivar

Work resumed on the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Monday after the federal and B.C. governments reached a historic deal with the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en first nation.

The details of the deal have not yet been made public and are being discussed among the Wet’suwet’en communities. Both sides have also said the deal does not resolve the ongoing dispute over the pipeline.

Chief Woos of the Wet’suwet’en said the hereditary chiefs remain opposed to the pipeline passing through their traditional lands. The talks also did not resolve the presence of RCMP officers on Wet’suwet’en lands. Both had suspended operations for the duration of the talks.

Talking to reporters after the discussions concluded Sunday, he said the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are looking at continuing the conversation with the RCMP and the B.C. government.

Until they are resolved, the hereditary chiefs have decided to continue their blockade until further talks can be held.

Since the dispute began, solidarity protests and blockades have taken place across the country. A spokesperson for the Kahnawake Mohawk, south of Montreal, said until they have further clarification of the deal, their blockade of the railway that passes through their territory will continue.

“The other component that we worked on together was the rights and title matter,” Chief Woos said. “We’ve come up with an arrangement that we see as a probable help and assistance to all parties so that we can see the future has a better outlook.”

Carolyn Bennett, the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, said she and her provincial counterpart, Scott Fraser are prepared to return and sign the agreement, should it be accepted by the Wet’suwet’en community.

“It is building on the [1992] supreme court decision,” she said. “It is about making sure … that this never happens again. That the rights’ holders will always be at the table.”

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