A red dress attached to the 44 kilometre marker of the Morice River Forest Service Road where the Gidimt’en Clan has rebuilt an encampment and gate. The dress is a symbol signifying missing and murdered women. (Facebook photo)

Northern B.C. First Nation clan sues pipeline company

Wet’suwet’en clan seeks damages and costs from Coastal Gaslink over destruction of access point camp

The Gidimt’en (Wolf and Bear) Clan of the Wet’suwet’en are now taking civil action against Coastal GasLink (CGL), the company currently in the pre-construction phase of an LNG pipeline from Northeast B.C. to Kitimat.

A paralegal assistant at the Vancouver law firm of Chantler & Company confirmed the lawsuit was filed yesterday to the British Columbia Supreme Court and is currently being processed.

A Gidimt’en press release stated the clan is seeking special damages, aggravated damages, punitive damages, and costs with interest related to the enforcement on Jan. 7, 2019 of a Dec. 14, 2018 B.C. Supreme Court injunction allowing CGL access to the pipeline right-of-way the Unist’ot’en (Dark House) were blocking with an encampment south of Houston.

During that incident, 14 protesters were arrested, but the charges were later dropped.

READ MORE: Crown won’t pursue charges against 14 pipeline opponents in northern B.C.

“After the raid on Gidimt’en territory on January 7th, 2019, the RCMP occupied the Access Point camp at 44.5 km on Morice River FSR and stood by as CGL, Blastpro Construction and Domcor employees and their agents destroyed the private property of the Gidimt’en Clan,” the July 22 Gidimt’en press release stated.

The amount of the lawsuit has not been disclosed, but the press release suggests even if the clan wins, it will not be enough.

“These avenues of compensation do not even begin to approach the cost of the violence of these companies invading traditional Wet’suwet’en territory,” it read. “The spiritual and emotional traumas these companies have inflicted on the Wet’suwet’en are tremendous and grave. These acts of violence must not go unpunished or unrecognized in the courts.”

Legal fees are being funded, at least in part, by a GoFundMe campaign that was started after the Jan. 7 incident. As of today, it has raised nearly $231,000 of a $350,000 goal.

A spokesperson for CGL said they have not yet been served with the suit and will not comment until such time as that happens.

The encampment and gate on the Morice River road has since been rebuilt, but, according to the Ministry of Transportation and RCMP, the Gidimt’en are not impeding traffic.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en gate erected on Morice River road

The ministry delivered a letter June 27 requesting the gate be removed because it is an unauthorized structure.

“The Gidimt’en Hereditary Chiefs remain strong in the defence of their lands against oil and gas pipelines,” yesterday’s press release concluded. “The camp has been rebuilt and we are in need of ongoing support. We continue the fight during our seasonal harvesting, and in the face of continued industry invasion.”

A challenge to the 2018 temporary injunction is still before the courts.

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Port Hardy earns Bear Smart certification

Community committed to living safely alongside bears

Small physically distant running event with big heart held in Port Hardy

Indigenous Run/Walk program went ahead this year, with some downsizing due to COVID-19

Longtime Vancouver Island fishing family hooks into local market over wholesale

Locally caught fish are scarce in fishing towns, an irony one Sointula family is working to change

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Humans cause half the wildfires in Vancouver Island north

Open fire escape is the number one cause, followed by mechanical

All community COVID-19 outbreaks declared over in B.C.

Abbotsford manufacturer cleared by Dr. Bonnie Henry

B.C. First Nations vow to keep fighting after Trans Mountain pipeline appeal denied

Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band made the application

‘Queue jumpers’ not welcome in B.C. as COVID-19 U.S. cases rise: Horgan

Premier Horgan said he’s heard concerns that Americans have stopped at Vancouver hotels instead of heading to their destination

US officer resigns after photos, connected to death of black man in 2019, surface

Elijah McClain died, last summer, after police placed him in a chokehold

Black worker files discrimination complaint against Facebook

Oscar Veneszee, Jr. has worked as an operations program manager at Facebook since 2017

Nestle Canada selling bottled water business to local family-owned company

The Pure Life bottled water business is being sold to Ice River Springs

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Major B.C. salmon farm tests new containment system to curb sea lice infestations

System “essentially eliminates” contact between wild and farmed fish stocks, says Cermaq

Most Read