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

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

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

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

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

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Kootenay Meadows Farm experiencing shortage of glass milk bottles

Some grocery stores have stopped accepting bottle returns amid COVID-19 concerns

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Most Read