B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser speaks in the legislature, Feb. 12, 2020.. (Hansard TV)

B.C. officials meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs over gas pipeline protest

Federal government needed to lift CN Rail blockade

B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser has agreed to a meeting with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to resolve an impasse that has seen roadblocks on the route of the Coastal Gaslink pipeline spread to the nearby CN Rail tracks in northwestern B.C.

A letter from Premier John Horgan to a Wet’suwet’en chief confirms acceptance of a meeting, to be joined by a federal representative and a member of the neighbouring Gitxsan community.

Fraser said Thursday morning he has yet to hear from Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, but he expects her to respond with the same urgency as he has. Wet’suwet’en supporters have blocked rail lines in Ontario and Quebec, paralyzing freight and passenger transportation.

Fraser told Black Press his expectation is that participation by himself and a federal representative will be sufficient to have the rail blockade taken down, at least temporarily.

“I confirm our government’s willingness to participate in such a meeting on the basis you propose,” Horgan wrote in a letter to Simogyet Spookw [Chief Norman Stephens] dated Feb. 12. “Further, my office has informed the federal government of our response and we have urged the federal government to respond as quickly as possible to the proposal.

“I understand that on receipt of this letter and a similar commitment from Canada, the blockade of the CN line will be removed to allow for a period of calm and peaceful dialogue.”

RELATED: Rail service cut by blockades in B.C., Ontario, Quebec

RELATED: CN Rail to shut down tracks to Prince Rupert port


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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