RCMP Asst. Comm. Eric Stubbs said police will review their actions in clearing out pipeline protest camps in northern B.C during a press conference in Surrey on Jan. 14. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

The BC RCMP say they will be reviewing their actions in the clearing of a pipeline protest camp last week in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory south of Smithers.

Speaking at their headquarters in Surrey on Monday, Asst. Comm. Eric Stubbs said he hoped a recently signed agreement coupled with a temporary detachment of officers sent to the area will lead to more peaceful protests going forward.

READ MORE: Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

WATCH: ‘Welcome to battleground B.C.’: Hundreds rally against LNG pipeline

Tensions have been high at the two protest camps, and last week 14 people were arrested as police tried to enforce a court injunction to allow workers access to the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

When complete, the 670-kilometre pipeline will ship natural gas from the Peace region to a $40-billion LNG Canada export facility in Kitimat.

Stubbs said police went in on Jan. 7 to clear a gate set up at the Gitumd’en camp after talks to resolve the conflict peacefully failed.

RCMP went over a barricade set up by protesters in what Stubbs called a “extremely challenging situation” for officers.

“The protesters’ reaction to the police ranged from passive resistance to active resistance to actual assaultive behaviour,” Stubbs said.

“One person secured themselves to the bottom of the barricade, making climbing over the gate necessary. Two others attached themselves to the underside of a bus that was blocking access to the bridge.”

Stubbs addressed “some concerns over our actions,” including police in tactical gear shown in videos that were taken at the protest camps.

Protesters have objected to the use of RCMP on Indigenous traditional territory, saying Canadian police have no jurisdiction in the region.

“Given the remoteness of the location and the unpredictability of what we could have faced, we developed an operational plan that included moving additional police resources into the area,” Stubbs said.

He said Mounties will conduct an “after-action review” by looking through body cam, drone, helicopter, RCMP and publicly available videos.

“To date, we have not identified any issue in police officer conduct.”

The agreement includes sending a temporary RCMP detachment to the region and allowing Coastal GasLink workers access to their worksites, while protecting the Wet’suwet’en’s right to protest.

It also allows a Unist’ot’en healing camp to remain in place and for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to provide “cultural awareness training” to officers.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Prince Rupert Gas Transmission project searches for partners

TransCanada is renewing permits for its natural gas pipeline project to North Coast.

Coastal GasLink stops work to investigate archaeological find

OGC archaeologists are en route to the Houston-area site where Unist’ot’en report finding stone tools

Coastal GasLink prepares sites of construction work camps

Unist’ot’en condemn 14 ‘man camps’ housing 500-800 workers as threatening safety of women and children

TSKLH Nation sues Province over Brucejack mine revenue sharing

The Tsetsaut/Skii km Lax Ha seeks to assert rights and title in the area around Pretivm gold mine.

VIDEO: Historic night in Red Deer as 2019 Canada Winter Games kicks off

Star-studded Opening Ceremony features athletes from across Canada

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Flying squirrels found to glow pink in the dark, including two from B.C.

Squirrels from Hope and Abbotsford were included in the biologists’ database

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Wilson-Raybould resignation stokes anger, frustration within veterans community

Liberals have had three veterans-affairs ministers — Kent Hehr, Seamus O’Regan and Wilson-Raybould

Most Read