Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs from left, Rob Alfred, John Ridsdale, centre and Antoinette Austin, who oppose the Costal Gaslink pipeline take part in a rally in Smithers B.C., on Friday January 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

RCMP checkpoint on LNG pipeline ‘arbitrary and discriminatory,’ say B.C. complainants

Wet’suwet’en say RCMP unlawfully restricting access on traditional territory in Coastal GasLink fight

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs and their supporters want a public investigation into the way the RCMP are controlling access along a rural road in northern B.C..

The RCMP have said they set up a checkpoint along the Morice Forest Service Road south of Houston in order to prevent a dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline from escalating.

But the chiefs along with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs allege that the Mounties are unlawfully restricting access on Wet’suwet’en traditional territory.

They have submitted a complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, asking the chairperson to initiate a policy complaint and public interest investigation.

The RCMP could not immediately be reached for comment.

Harsha Walia, executive director of the civil liberties association, says the application of the RCMP’s enforcement at the checkpoint has been “inconsistent, arbitrary and discriminatory.”

Walia says the coalition has submitted eight first-hand accounts from people turned away as part of the complaint.

Irina Ceric, a non-practising lawyer who tried to visit supporters at a camp beyond the checkpoint, said she was turned away one day because she didn’t have a two-way radio and tire chains but she was allowed through the next day with no questions from a different officer about her equipment.

The B.C. Supreme Court granted Coastal GasLink an injunction on Dec. 31.

READ MORE: B.C. councillor runs afoul of Coastal GasLink protester

The RCMP have said there is an active criminal investigation underway into traps likely to cause bodily harm after patrol officers found felled trees along the road, and piles of tires with jugs of accelerant and fuel-soaked rags nearby.

“There are no reasonable and probable grounds for RCMP to randomly stop vehicles from passing through and requiring identification of all drivers and passengers,” Walia told a news conference Thursday.

She said the Mounties’ actions are “significant, arbitrary and disproportionate to the stated goal of public safety.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coastal GasLink

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

Just Posted

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

COVID-19 minimizes Okanagan Regional Library budget increase

Library adapts to pandemic fiscal disruptions

Interior Health continues to tackle COVID-19

IH president Susan Brown says don’t become complacent about pandemic

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Squabble over mask policy at LUSH in Kelowna mall

The woman filmed the encounter at LUSH Cosmetics, where wearing a mask in-store is company policy

Cops For Kids ride wraps in Okanagan

No pomp, no circumstance for end of milestone 20th anniversary fundraising bicycle trip

Former Kelowna cop faces fourth lawsuit alleging sexual assault

Ex-Mountie Brian Mathew Burkett is also separately facing seven charges of breach of trust

Province opens ‘middle income’ housing in Kelowna

Prices on the units are $1,300 for a one-bedroom and $1,780 for a two-bedroom, nearing area-average prices

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Reward offered for return of Okanagan puppy

An 11-week-old boxer-mastiff cross pup was allegedly taken from its Kelowna Friday, Sept. 18

Most Read