Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison is urging protestors to remove blockades that have sprung up across the country in response to a dispute over land access to a proposed pipeline route in central B.C.

Calling the situation a crisis, Morrison said ‘illegal roadblocks’ in B.C and beyond need to be taken down.

“Trudeau’s weak response to this crisis is causing huge problems,” Morrison said, pointing to job layoffs announced by VIA Rail, CN Rail and CP Rail and the economic impacts from trains being unable to transport products on rail lines.

The dispute arose out of a blockade by protesters on a remote forest service road near Houston, B.C., preventing access to a Coastal GasLink worksite, which is currently constructing a natural gas pipeline between Dawson Creek and Kitimat.

However, while there is support from elected band councils on Indigenous territory along the pipeline route, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have asserted title rights on the unceded land where the pipeline would be constructed, leaning on a 1997 decision from the Supreme Court of Canada that affirmed Indigenous title rights to traditional territories.

Morrison said he is aware of the sensitivities and differences between hereditary chiefs and elected band chiefs, who are voted onto a council governance structure imposed on Indigenous nations by the federal government via the Indian Act.

It’s up to the Wet’suwet’en to resolve differences in opinion between hereditary chiefs and elected band councils over the pipeline, said Morrison.

“They have to sit down, and in their culture, decide how they’re going to move forward with the pipeline that was approved from the different Wet’suwet’en groups that are in that area,” Morrison said. “It’s going to be a livelihood for the economy and to have their own financial structures as a result of the pipelines going through there and they know that the pipelines are safe and we know that we have to deliver that natural gas to the West Coast so we can reduce our greenhouse gases in places like China and India by using natural gas.

“I think that’s a win for the world.”

The dispute has inspired several other solidarity blockades across B.C. and Canada, with protests at government offices in Victoria, the Port of Vancouver and rail lines in Ontario and Quebec.

“I think what you’re seeing, too, is it’s always the vocal minority, and that’s the great thing about living in Canada, is you do have the right to a peaceful protest,” said Morrison, a former RCMP officer and diplomat who has worked as a representative of the federal government abroad in southeast Asia.

“A lot of the times, the vocal minority are out there peacefully protesting and I think that’s the joy of living in Canada, compared to some of the countries I’ve lived in. I’m proud to be Canadian because of that. But when a group of people are there to cause problems illegally, that’s stepping into whole new ground.”



trevor.crawley@cranbrooktownsman.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Q&A: Interior Health CEO answers questions on COVID-19 response

Susan Brown, president and CEO of Interior Health, answers questions regarding COVID-19

Positivity rocks! Golden resident brings positivity to community through painted rocks.

Brandi Romano hand crafts the rocks with her kids as a distraction from COVID-19

6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes the Kootenays

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout parts of B.C. and Alberta

Avalanche blocked Highway 1 yesterday

Highway 1 over Rogers Pass was closed for most of the day

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

B.C. couple celebrates 61st anniversary through seniors’ home window

Frank and Rena Phillips marked occasion at Nanaimo Seniors Village this week while social distancing

A look at some of the B.C. inventors creating life-saving tools in fight against COVID-19

Groups across B.C. are working together to create what they hope will help people affected by the pandemic

Association launches French-language games, online tools for families learning at home

Games, culture and vocabulary included in new virtual resources

‘There can be no ambiguity’: Travellers brought home to B.C. must self-isolate

Health Minister Adrian Dix said the mandatory isolation must be abided by

Interior Health confirms five additional cases in Okanagan COVID-19 outbreak

The total amount of confirmed cases at Bylands Nurseries Ltd. is 19; no further cases expected

55+ BC Games cancelled amid COVID-19 concerns

Greater Victoria set to host 2021 event

ANKORS East Kootenay details concerns surrounding harm reduction amid COVID-19

Harm reduction providers are having to keep up with rapidly changing situation

BC Hydro offers three-month bill ‘holiday’ for those affected by COVID-19

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Some April Fool’s Day jokes bring much-needed laughter; others tone deaf to COVID-19

Police are warning the public not to use the ongoing pandemic as a punchline

Most Read