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

Just Posted

Better COVID-19 testing results needed in the north

Former senior Northern Health official also wants work camps shut down

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

A curfew is being implemented by Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation

The First Nations community will also be putting up check-points due to COVID-19 concerns

Northern Health preparing ‘for a changing situation’ in response to COVID-19

The health authority is taking a number of measures to free up hospital capacity where possible

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

Most Read