Hereditary Chief Na’Moks addresses a crowd at Bovill Square in Smithers on Jan. 10. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

‘I think it’s an easy way out’: hereditary chief feels Province should be involved in CGL talks

The hereditary chiefs have repeatedly called for talks with the Province and Federal government

Hereditary Chief Na’Moks (John Ridsdale) isn’t buying it.

That is, the response from the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO) regarding why Justin Trudeau or a federal representative won’t be taking part in discussions between the hereditary chiefs and the Province regarding the latter’s ongoing dispute with Coastal GasLink (CGL).

On Jan. 30 the Office of the Wet’suwet’en confirmed it would be entering into a seven-day discussion with the Province, who will be represented by Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser.

The discussions begin next week and will last seven days, however there will be no representative from the federal government at the table.

When asked if they would be meeting with the hereditary chiefs, the PMO redirected The Interior News to the Office of the Minister of Natural Resources.

“Our government is committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership,” said Director of Communications with the office Carlene Variyan.

“This project went through a provincial review, and remains fully under provincial jurisdiction. We encourage all the parties involved to work together towards a solution.”

READ MORE: Coastal GasLink stresses pipeline ‘on a schedule’ as B.C. appoints liaison for Wet’suwet’en

But Na’Moks had another explanation.

“I think it’s an easy way out,” said Na’Moks. “The big issue is we have … heavy RCMP presence on our territory, well you’ve got to realize the provinces only contract the RCMP from the federal government.”

The hereditary chiefs have repeatedly called for police to be removed from the territory. This includes from a roadblock that was set up earlier this month at the 27 kilometre point of the Morice West Forest Service Road and the RCMP Community-Industry Safety Office (C-ISO) located at the 29 kilometre point.

However contrary to this the RCMP has confirmed to The Interior News on Jan. 31 that they are mobilizing in the Bulkley Valley for enforcement of a Dec. 31, 2019 Supreme court injunction granting Coastal Gaslink access to a worksite near Houston.

While police are being moved into the area a spokesperson for the RCMP has confirmed they will abide by the seven-day “Wiggus” (meaning respect in the Wet’suwet’en language) period and wait for disucssions to take place before moving further.

The RCMP say the decision to mobilize was made before the announcement the Province and hereditary chiefs would be meeting, however Na’Moks still said he feels the police presence is moving in the wrong direction.

“That’s not what we talked about,” he said.

“We requested that [the Community-Industry Safety Office] that’s established on our territory at 29 kilometre be vacated. And also the fact that the enforcement level must be low, and so I was surprised.”

Trudeau has repeatedly stated that Canada needs to do more in terms of reconciliation. In his first press conference after being re-elected he noted it’s important the country takes steps to make sure that “reconciliation isn’t just a word.”

As for Na’Moks, he wasn’t mincing his.

“Respect is respect, and that means telling the truth.”



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.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

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Coast Mountain College appoints a new president

The promotion came from within the school

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

Prince Rupert launches community review plan

Prince Rupert launches community review plan with online survery

College finds a new president

Promotion comes from within

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart

A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

B.C. widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket

Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him

Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says

Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate

Most Read