Happier times: B.C. Premier John Horgan is greeted by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief John Ridsdale at a community meeting in Witset, March 16, 2019. (Interior News)

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

As Wet’su’weten hereditary chiefs headed for Ontario to meet with their Mohawk supporters in a nation-wide railway blockade to stop the Coastal GasLink pipeline, federal and B.C. Indigenous relations ministers renewed their plea for a meeting with them Wednesday.

In the latest effort by Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser to get a meeting with the dissident hereditary chiefs, they wrote Wednesday to the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, where a minority of hereditary chiefs remain opposed to the pipeline that would supply natural gas to a new export facility at Kitimat.

The letter refers to “repeated public and personal commitments by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan and our own letters of Feb. 16, 2020,” offering “dedicated attention from both levels of government to work with you in charting a peaceful path forward. (See letter in full below.)

“In light of that, we both commit to be in Smithers as early as Thursday, Feb. 20 and will be able to meet with any of the hereditary chiefs to discuss these matters of great concern to the Wet’suwet’en Nation,” Fraser and Bennett wrote. “We understand that some of the hereditary chief may not be available, and we commit to coming back again when they are.”

RELATED: Wet’suwet’en chief says no meeting until RCMP leave

RELATED: CN Rail stops Eastern trains, lays off 450 employees

As the letter was being sent, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Na’moks (John Ridsdale), repeated the demands of the dissidents that the conditions for the meeting were unchanged.

“Remove RCMP from our territory, remove [Coastal GasLink] from our territory, and we’ll have discussions,” The Canadian Press reported that Na’moks said Wednesday.

The demands refer to a mobile RCMP detachment in the remote region of northwestern B.C. where police arrested 28 people when they enforced a court injunction granted to Coastal GasLink this month.

The project has federal and provincial approval, and benefit agreements with all 20 elected Indigenous councils along the pipeline route from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat, including Witset and other Wet’suwet’en councils. The dissident group has gained support from across the country, with blockades at roads, ports and railways from Vancouver to Quebec.

20 02 19 Fraser Bennett Letter by Tom Fletcher on Scribd


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

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

Just Posted

Port Hardy Secondary School’s 2019-2020 wrestling season

Both Lamothe and Speck thanked Cleary for volunteering his time to sponsor the program.

First government licensed cannabis shop on Vancouver Island celebrates one year in business

‘I’m really happy we’re here giving the public what they want’

Fire Chefs give back to community with one free meal a day to those who are in need

Fire Chefs will offer one free meal from 3:30 until 4:30 on the days they are open to those in need.

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Most Read