The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is addressing this morning the tensions over a British Columbia pipeline project and the nationwide protests it’s spawned. National Chief Perry Bellegarde is seen during a speech at the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

AFN national chief calls for calm on Wet’suwet’en crisis, rail blockades

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline

The national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is calling for calm and constructive dialogue to ease tensions over a British Columbia pipeline project and the nationwide protests it’s spawned.

National Chief Perry Bellegarde is telling reporters in Ottawa that governments and industry have to give the time and space to work with the Wet’suwet’en people.

Hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural-gas pipeline through their traditional territory, though it’s received approval from elected band councils.

Since the RCMP moved in to enforce an injunction and keep the hereditary chiefs and their supporters away from the pipeline worksites, protests by Indigenous people and supporters have shut down the CN rail network in eastern Canada, suspended most Via Rail passenger service, and temporarily blocked traffic on streets and bridges and at ports in multiple cities.

Bellegarde says he has spoken with all parties involved to find a way forward.

“We say we want to de-escalate and we want dialogue,” he says.

“And I say our people are taking action because they want to see action — and when they see positive action by the key players, when they see a commitment to real dialogue to address this difficult situation, people will respond in a positive way.”

Other chiefs speaking alongside Bellegarde suggest it may be time to bring the situation to a peaceful conclusion and bring down the blockades.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increasing pressure to end the blockades, which he says he wants to do quickly but peacefully. He is set to address the House of Commons later this morning.

Indigenous-relations ministers both federally and in B.C. are seeking to meet leaders of British Columbia First Nations in hopes of finding a solution.

Also Tuesday, Via announced it expects to resume partial passenger service Thursday between Ottawa and Quebec City, including a stop in Montreal.

READ MORE: Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLink

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Mobile mammography service coming to Breton

Women ages 50 to 74 can get tested July 15-17 by appointment

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

Ponoka native leaping big time into Esports

Jesse Chick joining the full time broadcast crew for Rainbow 6 Siege

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Movement for Black Lives plans virtual national convention

Movement for Black Lives plans virtual national convention

Trump, top officials defend response to Russia bounty threat

Trump, top officials defend response to Russia bounty threat

Legal battle concludes for journalist charged after covering Labrador protest

Legal battle concludes for journalist charged after covering Labrador protest

Lighthizer celebrates USMCA, promises enforcement as trade deal comes into force

Lighthizer celebrates USMCA, promises enforcement as trade deal comes into force

Brazilian cowboy nears end of epic horse ride in Calgary

Brazilian cowboy nears end of epic horse ride in Calgary

N.B. anti-racism activist among those receiving Canada Day honours from GG

N.B. anti-racism activist among those receiving Canada Day honours from GG

Virtual Canada Day citizenship ceremony celebrates nurses, care workers

Virtual Canada Day citizenship ceremony celebrates nurses, care workers

Pence backs Arizona business closures in coronavirus hotspot

Pence backs Arizona business closures in coronavirus hotspot

Most Read