HOUSTON – RCMP frontline officers working from the Community-Industry Safety Office (C-ISO) continue to conduct patrols along the Morice West Forest Service Road to ensure the safety of individuals at the Healing Centre, Coastal GasLink employees, and general public traveling along the corridor.
“On Jan. 6, 2020, during the course of regular patrols, officers attended the 39.5-kilometer mark and were stopped by a blockade of fallen trees,” said Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, RCMP Media Relations.
“Officers conducted foot patrols towards the 44-kilometer mark and noted several dozen trees had been felled across the roadway.”
Cpl. Saunderson said of particular concern for safety, they noted some trees that were partly cut in readiness for felling.
“This creates a hazard where these trees can fall unexpectedly due to wind. Three stacks of tires were also noticed, each covered by tarps and trees, and contained several jugs of accelerants – gasoline, diesel, oil, kindling and bags full of fuel soaked rags.
“These concerning items have been brought to the attention of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs. They have also been advised that the RCMP has entered into a criminal investigation.”
Cpl. Saunderson said the RCMP respects the rights of individuals to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the BC Supreme Court in the injunction, but added their primary concerns are public and police officer safety.
“We will take steps to ensure that those who unlawfully interfere with or threaten the safety of any person or property may be held accountable in accordance with the laws of Canada. This applies to demonstrators, industry employees and contractors, as well as the general public.”
Cpl. Saunderson added that the RCMP are impartial in this dispute and their priority is to facilitate a dialogue between the various stakeholders involved.
“We remain hopeful that these efforts will result in a resolution.”
A B.C. Supreme Court judge issued an injunction Dec. 31 against the Wet’suwe’ten Nation that is blocking Coastal GasLink’s (CGL) access to a natural gas pipeline project.
This means RCMP can now arrest protesters who are stopping workers on a remote logging road near Houston, B.C.
Coastal GasLink is owned by Calgary-based TC Energy Corporation, formerly TransCanada Pipelines. They are building a 667-kilometre natural gas pipeline from Dawson Creek, B.C. to a liquified natural gas plant (LNG) scheduled for construction in Kitimat.
Earlier this month a United Nations committee urged Canada to immediately stop the construction of three major resource projects in B.C.
The UN’s racial discrimination committee said Canada needs to stop work until they obtain approval from affected First Nations. They are calling for the suspension of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Site C dam and Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Minister of Energy Sonya Savage, however, slammed the UN’s statement.
“With all the injustice in the world, it’s beyond rich that the unelected, unaccountable United Nations would seemingly single out Canada – one of the greatest champions of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
“We wish that the UN would pay as much attention to the majority of First Nation groups that support important projects such as Trans Mountain and Coastal GasLink,” she added.
“First Nations leaders increasingly recognize that responsible natural resource development can serve as a path from poverty to prosperity for their people. Yet this UN body seemingly ignores these voices.”
Savage said Canada’s duly elected representatives – not unaccountable international committees – are responsible for governing decisions in this country.
Alberta Press staff
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