The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is addressing this morning the tensions over a British Columbia pipeline project and the nationwide protests it’s spawned. National Chief Perry Bellegarde is seen during a speech at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is calling for calm and constructive dialogue to ease tensions over a British Columbia pipeline project and the nationwide protests it’s spawned.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde is telling reporters in Ottawa that governments and industry have to give the time and space to work with the Wet’suwet’en people.

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline through their traditional territory, though it’s received approval from elected band councils.

Since the RCMP moved in to enforce an injunction and keep the hereditary chiefs and their supporters away from the pipeline worksites, protests by Indigenous people and supporters have shut down the CN rail network in eastern Canada, suspended most Via Rail passenger service, and temporarily blocked traffic on streets and bridges and at ports in multiple cities.

Bellegarde says he has spoken with all parties involved to find a way forward.

“We say we want to de-escalate and we want dialogue,” he says.

“And I say our people are taking action because they want to see action — and when they see positive action by the key players, when they see a commitment to real dialogue to address this difficult situation, people will respond in a positive way.”

Other chiefs speaking alongside Bellegarde suggest it may be time to bring the situation to a peaceful conclusion and bring down the blockades.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increasing pressure to end the blockades, which he says he wants to do quickly but peacefully. He is set to address the House of Commons later this morning.

Indigenous-relations ministers both federally and in B.C. are seeking to meet leaders of British Columbia First Nations in hopes of finding a solution.

Also Tuesday, Via announced it expects to resume partial passenger service Thursday between Ottawa and Quebec City, including a stop in Montreal.

READ MORE: Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

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

YMCA Okanagan opens child care service to essential workers

Priority given to guardians in top three tiers of essential services as identified by the province

South Okanagan piper to perform for livestreamed memorials

Penticton funeral home to show performances every Friday at 4:30 p.m.

Playgrounds remain closed in South Okanagan and Similkameen

Communities, school districts and Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen have all shut facilities

LETTER: Flights from infected countries should be banned

There is no excuse to allow those from infected countries to keep coming to B.C.

Penticton RCMP, Fire Department, BCEHS salute hospital workers

“You’re awesome” and “Thank you” say Penticton first responders, passing by emergency entrance

First Nations, remote communities need special attention in pandemic, Freeland says

Health-care workers, seniors, Indigenous Peoples some of people most at risk, health officials say

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

Industrial customers can defer half of their power bills

Lake Country athlete selected to participate in national training program

Volleyball player Chloe Ladd will be heading to the Lower Mainland in the fall

“I call her my adopted daughter”: Salmon Arm couple embrace student exchange experience

Rotary Youth Exchange students choose to shelter in place during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19: Social media use goes up as country stays indoors

Overall messaging is up more than 50 per cent over the last month

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

Super Beaver Task Force: April Fool’s Day joke lightens weight of COVID-19 uncertainty

Ducks Unlimited Canada enlists beavers’ help to protect wetlands in unconventional way

Solar panels installed at Summerland’s municipal hall

Power from energy project expected to provide five per cent of building’s power use

COVID-19: Okanagan College student pens petition for pass/fail grades

Optional pass/fail program would reduce stress, recognize students’ challenges faced in pandemic

Most Read