Premier John Horgan addressed the RCMP takedown of a pipeline blockade in BC First Nation’s territory at a press conference today, saying that he hopes for a “peaceful resolution as early as possible.”
On January 7, members of the Wet’suwet’en Territory were on site at the blockade set up on the Morice West Forest Service Road located south of Houston, BC.
The protesters were opposing a court-ordered injunction that would allow Coastal GasLink workers access to the land to build the $6.2-billion pipeline.
RCMP arrived on scene and a resolution was not achieved, leading police to arrest 14 protesters.
“We recognize the right of individuals to protest. We recognize the rights of those across the country who wanted to voice their concerns about this project,” said Horgan.
“However, it has been my view that LNG Canada has shown they understand the importance of consultation and meaningful reconciliation with First Nations and that’s why they have signed agreements with every First Nation along the pipeline corridor.”
On Tuesday, an international day of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en was planned in Canada and across the world.
Horgan said that while he “absolutely respects” the right to protest, yesterday’s demonstrations were “not uniformly focused on Wet’suwet’en territory.”
“There are no orcas on Wet’suwet’en territory — there were those that were highlighting that. There were those talking about diluted bitumen. There were those talking about eradicating capitalism. There was a whole bunch of discontent on display for Canadians to see yesterday.”
Horgan added that the pipeline project in northern BC has strong support from some First Nations.
“When it comes to this project in the north particularly, there are nations that are wildly enthusiastic about the prospects that this opens up for their future and I think that that needs to be balanced in the coverage of the protests from yesterday.”
When asked about protestors who were participating in the blockade and breaking the injunction, Horgan said that “they have any right to object” because “that is a fundamental principle in Canada and British Columbia.”
But Horgan added that breaking the law comes with penalties. “If they are breaking the law, there are consequences for that and that’s why 14 people were arrested [on Monday].”
“Again, you have every right to exercise your dissent and you have every expectation that you will have to pay the consequences for that.”