Minister of Crown Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett arrives to a caucus meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in Smithers over natural gas pipeline

The Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

  • Feb. 20, 2020 12:00 a.m.

The federal Crown-Indigenous relations minister is offering to meet today with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in northwestern British Columbia.

But while Carolyn Bennett and her B.C. counterpart Scott Fraser say they’ll be in the town of Smithers to talk about reducing tensions over the construction of a pipeline in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory, the chiefs are supposed to be in Ontario.

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory, where community members have blocked a key east-west rail link between Toronto and Montreal in support of the chiefs’ cause.

The hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would bring natural gas to a liquefaction facility and export terminal on the B.C. coast.

Nationwide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to the company’s work site.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increasing pressure to end the blockades, with Conservatives calling for the government to use force, while the Liberal government insists negotiations are the only way to a lasting solution.

VIDEO: Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, so barricades should come down

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

The Canadian Press


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