An RCMP office is set up a few kilometres past a roadblock set up at the 27-kilometre point on the Morice West Forest Service Road in Houston, B.C. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

RCMP clarifies stance on removing officers from Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C.

Police say will remove officers only if hereditary chiefs keep road open to pipeline workers

The RCMP has clarified its position on its intention to exit the Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C., following a statement from the federal public safety minister surrounding the fierce dispute on the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

In an emailed statement on Friday, the B.C. RCMP clarified that it will remove its officers from the West Morice Service Road in Houston only if the hereditary chiefs commit to keeping the road open to all users, including pipeline construction workers.

“The RCMP understands that not all Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are available for an immediate discussion, however in anticipation of a meeting, planning has been set in motion to transition operations from the service road to the Houston Detachment,” the email said.

Earlier, B.C. RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan said in a letter to hereditary chiefs that the RCMP no longer needed to stay because the road has been consistently kept clear.

Adding to the confusion was a statement from Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who said the hereditary chiefs’ conditions had been met for meeting to discuss the removal of the rail blockades that have hamstrung the shipment of goods from coast to coast.

The chiefs also want Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction and remove its workers, which has not happened.

Nationwide protests and blockades of rail lines followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters. The protesters have stated these blockades will remain in place until the RCMP abandon its office on the service road.

The RCMP office has been in place since March 2019 at the 29-km mark along the Morice West Forest Service Road. Police have raided the camps twice during that time, arresting approximately 50 people.

Several hereditary chiefs are visiting Mohawk supporters in Ontario this week and will not be able to attend a meeting with RCMP until early next week.

READ MORE: Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

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

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