Tag Archives: Wet’suwet’en

Police lay charges after arrests at Tyendinaga rail blockade

Ontario Provincial Police officers make an arrest at a rail blockade in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, near Belleville, Ont., on Monday Feb. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

By Ted Raymond – CTVNewsOttawa.ca

OTTAWA — Ontario Provincial Police have announced the charges laid against ten people who were arrested Monday at the rail blockade in Tyendinaga, Ont.

The rail blockade was set up in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in northern B.C., who oppose a natural gas pipeline project in their territory. Demonstrators in Ontario were demanding the RCMP leave Wet’suwet’en territory.

The arrests came the morning of Feb. 24, about eight hours after a midnight deadline passed calling on demonstrators to end their blockade, which had stymied rail service in the area for 19 days.

Police say they were notified at 8 a.m. ET that the injunction regarding the blockade would be enforced. Police claim they told demonstrators to leave and warned they could be arrested if they did not comply.

Officers and demonstrators scuffled at the blockade briefly before arrests were made. Police say one person was injured and was taken to hospital for treatment. Their injury was described as minor and they have since been released.

All ten people were charged with mischief over $5000 and disobeying a court order, as well as a Railway Safety Act charge of entering land where line work is situated.

Three people are additionally charged with resisting arrest. One person is also facing a charge of obstructing police.

All ten have been released on bail and are due in court in Napanee, Ont. March 24.

Since the arrests, protests have been held across Canada, including in Vancouver, Winnipeg, and Ottawa.

In Tyendinaga, protesters set fire to the tracks at one point.

Later, wooden pallets were ignited next to the tracks.

Police in Ontario say their investigation into the protest activity is ongoing.

“The OPP will continue to engage in dialogue, with a reasoned and tempered approach, and proper use of police discretion,” the police service said in a press release.

Charged are:

  •  Aaron Maracle, 36, of Ottawa, Ont.
  •  Corey Jay Jocko, 33, of Akwesasne, Ont.
  •  Tommy Gill, 34, of Odanak, Que.
  •  Harley Moses David, 31, of Akwesasne, Ont.
  •  Trevor Spencer, 45, of Belleville, Ont.
  •  Harry Joseph Benedict, 30, of Akwesasne, Ont.
  •  Nicholas Kolbasook, 25, of Akwesasne, Ont.
  •  Nathan Strongitharm, 34, of no fixed address
  •  Jacob Sharpe, 24, of Tyendinaga Township, Ont.
  •  Stewart Americanhorse, 43, of Ohsweken, Ont.

Kolbasook, Strongitharm, and Sharpe are facing additional charges of resisting arrest. Americanhorse is facing an additional charge of obstructing police.

During testimony at the House of Commons public safety and national security committee, Conservative MP Doug Shipley asked Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, on behalf of a constituent, if the rail blockades constitute an act of terrorism.

Blair said they are not.

With files from The Canadian Press

[SOURCE]

B.C. RCMP offer to withdraw from Wet’suwet’en territory

RCMP and Coastal Gaslink on Morice West Forest Service Road in Wet’suwet’en territory.

RCMP say they’ll withdraw from Wet’suwet’en territory if road is kept clear

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he’s hoping the RCMP’s offer to leave their outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C. will lead to the barricades coming down, as talks aimed at ending the rail blockades crippling the country’s rail network continue.

“I’m very hopeful that that will satisfy the concerns that were raised,” said Blair ahead of a Thursday morning cabinet meeting.

“I think the RCMP have made a very sound operational decision based on the current circumstances.”

CBC News has obtained a copy of a letter sent Wednesday from RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan to the hereditary chiefs offering to move the RCMP’s temporary detachment from near the protest site to the nearby town of Houston — as long as Morice West Forest Service Road remains clear. The RCMP confirmed that letter was sent.

“As always, we encourage dialogue over enforcement with a goal of a long-term solution,” Strachan wrote, while asking for a meeting “in the near future.”

In a separate letter to staff, Strachan said the decision to re-assess their presence was “not an easy one to consider.”

“By making this gesture in good faith, we are not only supporting efforts towards a peaceful and sustainable solution, but also facilitating them,” she wrote in the internal email, first reported on by Global News.

“Our hope has always been to create mutual understanding for a peaceful resolution, without the need for police intervention.”

The RCMP, which acts as the provincial police service in B.C., moved in to enforce a court injunction earlier this month after the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters blocked construction of the $6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline project. The B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction in December authorizing the police to clear away the protesters who had blocked access to the public road.

Those arrests triggered national protests and the rail blockades, which have lasted just over two weeks now. Via Rail announced nearly 1,000 layoffs Wednesday in response to the nationwide rail shutdown, while CN Rail has issued temporary pink slips to 450 workers because the blockade has shuttered much of its eastern Canadian operations.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has offered to meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs as soon as possible to help resolve the dispute.

Trudeau calls blockades an ‘unacceptable situation’

So far, the hereditary chiefs have said they won’t meet with the federal and provincial ministers until the RCMP leave their territory.

Blair said he hopes the RCMP’s offer will meet the chiefs’ conditions.

“We have met the condition that those who were on the barricades had said was important to them before they would change their posture,” he said.

“I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down.”

It’s not clear yet whether the hereditary chiefs will meet with federal and provincial government representatives.

In a tweet, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called the RCMP’s decision “an important opportunity for progress, dialogue and safety.”

A handful of hereditary chiefs are travelling to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont., to meet with protesters there who have been blockading CN Rail in solidarity.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s office put out a statement calling the B.C. developments a positive step while pushing for a timeline to end the blockades.

“While the Ontario government believes in the rule of law, it is imperative that elected officials do not direct police operational decisions,” his office said in a statement.

“We believe the OPP is in the best position to ensure the protest remains peaceful, as both sides find a negotiated resolution.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet met in Ottawa Thursday morning to chart a path forward.

“We’re working very hard to end the blockades. It’s an unacceptable situation,” said the prime minister.

CN gets injunction for Montreal blockade

CN Rail says it has obtained an injunction to dismantle a rail blockade on Montreal’s South Shore.

“We’ve obtained the injunction and are hoping for a swift resolution of this incident so that passenger commuter rail service can resume,” it said in a statement.

Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters earlier Thursday that “once the injunction is granted, we will dismantle the blockade.”

By Catharine Tunney · CBC News · Posted: Feb 20, 2020

[SOURCE]

A timeline on rail disruptions by anti-pipeline protesters across Canada

Indigenous land defenders set up a blockade in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en along the CN rail and VIA rail line west of Winnipeg, on February 12, 2020. (Photo: Red Power Media)

RCMP began enforcing an injunction last week that prevents interference with construction of a $6.6-billion natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia.

Here is a timeline of rail disruptions by people showing solidarity with hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs opposing the Coastal GasLink project:

Feb. 6 — Protesters in Belleville, Ont., east of Toronto, start stopping railway traffic.

Feb. 7 — Via Rail halts service along one of its busiest routes because of the Belleville blockade. All travel between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal is cancelled. Canadian National Railway obtains a court injunction to end a demonstration by members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville. Protesters also begin disruptions at ports in Vancouver and Delta, B.C.

Feb. 8 — Protesters in Toronto disrupt Canadian Pacific Railway traffic moving through the downtown.

Feb. 9 — Kahnawake Mohawk community members south of Montreal erect a blockade on a CP rail line.

Feb. 10 — Demonstrators in the Montreal area disrupt commuter train service on the Exo Candiac line. A shuttle bus service is in effect for affected rail stations.

Feb. 11 — CN stops transport between Prince George, B.C., and Prince Rupert, B.C., because of a blockade near Hazelton, B.C. The company says it has halted more than 150 freight trains since blockades started on Feb. 6.

Feb. 12 — The Manitoba government says it may seek a court injunction to end a blockade on a rail line west of Winnipeg, but CN obtains its own court order. The RCMP also formally end enforcement operations in a region of northern B.C. that’s at the centre of the pipeline dispute. Two hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs start a constitutional challenge of fossil fuel projects, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls for demonstrators across the country to observe the rule of law.

Feb. 13 — CN shuts down its operations in Eastern Canada. The railway says blockades have ended in Manitoba and may come down soon in British Columbia, but the orders of a court in Ontario have yet to be enforced and continue to be ignored.

The Canadian Press, published Feb. 13, 2020

[SOURCE]

14 arrested after RCMP breach Gitdumt’en checkpoint

RCMP have confirmed they arrested 14 people at the Gitdumt’en checkpoint.

On Monday the RCMP announced they were going to enforce a court injunction to allow Coastal GasLink access to the road and bridge near Houston, B.C.

The RCMP followed through at approximately 2:51 p.m. when several members of the Tactical and Emergency Response Teams forcefully breached the Gitdumt’en camp’s checkpoint.

When police went over top of the barricade there was a scuffle between the advancing RCMP and the first line of Gitdumt’en clan members.

Journalists say the land defenders who were protecting their territory were not armed.

Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., filed for an injunction against Unist’ot’en Camp last month.

According to Vice News, the barricade was built by organizers from the Gitdumt’en clan, one of five Wet’suwet’en clans, with the goal of protecting the Unist’ot’en camp from being raided, further up the road.

The Unist’ot’en camp established in 2010 was set up by members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation with support of Hereditary chiefs to prevent Coast GasLink workers from gaining access.

Monday’s arrests took place at the Gitdumt’en checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road for various offences, including alleged violations of an injunction order against the blockade, reports the National Observer.

Fourteen land defenders, including Molly Wickam, a spokesperson for the camp, were taken into police custody and the blockade dismantled.

RCMP say they entered the blockade, after a meeting with a number of hereditary chiefs and Coast GasLink failed to resolve the issue without police involvement.

Unist’ot’en camp now awaits an RCMP raid after the injunction was enforced at the Gitdumt’en checkpoint.

In a statement, RCMP addressed what police called “erroneous” reports that RCMP jammed communications in the area, and that the military was present during the police enforcement operation.

“We would like to clarify that both of these allegations are incorrect,” the statement says. “The area is extremely remote and even police had limited access to communication.”

A news release issued Sunday on behalf of Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says all five Wet’suwet’en clans, including the Gitdumt’en, oppose the construction of oil and gas pipelines in their territory.

An elder arrested on Monday has already been released. The remainder of the arrestees were taken to Prince George to stand before a Justice of the Peace.

LNG Line Eyes New Route Over Aboriginal Concerns

A model at the LNG Canada offices in Kitimat shows the proposed liquified natural gas liquification plant and marine terminal that would be fed by the proposed Coastal GasLink line. Photograph by: Robin Rowland , THE CANADIAN PRESS

A model at the LNG Canada offices in Kitimat shows the proposed liquified natural gas liquification plant and marine terminal that would be fed by the proposed Coastal GasLink line. Photograph by: Robin Rowland , THE CANADIAN PRESS

By Gordon Hoekstra | Vancouver Sun, Oct 25, 2015

Change in northwest B.C. is in area where Unist’ot’en are blocking LNG developers

TransCanada is making pipeline route changes to lock up First Nation support for a leading proposed liquefied natural gas mega-project on the northwest coast of B.C.

The Calgary-based company has announced it will apply in November for an alternative route along a stretch of the pipeline on its $4.7-billion Coastal GasLink project that will supply the Shell-led LNG Canada export terminal with a price tag of $40 billion.

TransCanada said it did so after “extensive” consultations with aboriginal groups in the area of the alternative route.

The company already has approval from the B.C. government following an environmental assessment for its 650-kilometre pipeline from northeast B.C. to Kitimat. The 56-kilometre alternative — about nine per cent of the pipeline distance — would be subject to a review by the province, which would not be complete until next year.

But TransCanada says it wants to have the option to construct the section about five kilometres north of the approved route to address concerns of aboriginal groups about the potential effect of pipeline construction and operations on groundwater flows into the Morice River, an important salmon-bearing river.

The Kitimat terminal and pipeline enjoys support from at least nine First Nations, but the Unist’ot’en, a clan of the Wet’suwe’ten people, have set up a camp and blocked entry at a bridge over the Morice River to energy pipeline companies, including TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink.

The company said the alternative route does not cross through the camp, but neither did the first route.

“We are confident both routes could be built, and both options reflect TransCanada’s high standards and commitment to safety and environmental protection,” TransCanada spokesman Mark Cooper said in an email on Sunday.

“We’ll decide on the route once we have all of our regulatory approvals, and when we’ve had the opportunity to fully assess both options,” he said.

The Unist’ot’en could not be reached for comment on Sunday.

Shell and other leading LNG proponents like Chevron and Petronas have yet to make final investment decisions and face headwinds from reduced available capital from low oil prices, increased global LNG supply coming on stream and lower natural gas prices in a jittery global economy. In the past, TransCanada officials have said a decision could come in 2016.

It’s unclear how the alternative route proposal could affect that timing.

TransCanada, like many companies, are seeking to reach agreements with First Nations in B.C., as successive court victories provide increasing clout to aboriginals over land and natural resources.

While the Unist’ot’en have been adamant in their opposition to pipeline projects, some First Nations have distanced themselves from the group, issuing a statement this summer saying the clan does not speak for them.

Those include the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, Nee Tahi Buhn, Burns Lake Band and Skin Tyee Nation in north-central B.C.

The four First Nations formed the First Nations LNG Alliance, a group that supports LNG development in the province.

In an interview on Sunday, Wet’suwet’en First Nation chief Karen Ogen said they were aware of TransCanada’s plans for an alternative route and have no issue with it.

Ogen said the No. 1 priority in LNG development is the protection of the environment. She noted an existing natural gas pipeline in place in northern B.C. since 1968 has not caused harm to First Nation traditional territory.

Ogen said LNG development also brings potential economic benefit, employment and training for her community.

The four First Nations and others have signed project agreements with Coastal GasLink and benefit agreements with the province worth millions of dollars.

TransCanada does not yet have a cost estimate for the alternative section.

http://www.vancouversun.com/line+eyes+route+over+aboriginal+concerns/11467142/story.html