Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives to a cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Trudeau promises update on blockades as Wet’suwet’en chiefs meet Mohawk supporters

B.C. hereditary chiefs are thanking the Mohawks for supporting them in opposition to Coastal GasLink

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a meeting of his emergency-response team in Ottawa.

He promises a full account of his government’s work to clear transportation blockades in a news conference at 2:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday.

Meanwhile, a group of hereditary leaders from the Wet’suwet’en Nation in British Columbia is spending the day with Mohawk supporters in Ontario.

The B.C. hereditary chiefs are thanking the Mohawks for supporting them in opposition to a pipeline project on their traditional territory by blocking a critical rail line between Toronto and Montreal.

A notice telling police and reporters to stay away says the gathering is to celebrate friendship, healing, peace and optimism, and to talk politics.

The chiefs have scheduled their own news conference at the blockade near Belleville, Ont., this afternoon.

The rail blockade, and others like it across the country, went up after the RCMP enforced a court injunction against the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and supporters, forcing them off an access road to a worksite for the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The hereditary Wet’suwet’en leaders say they’re willing to talk with representatives of the Crown, but only after the RCMP and Coastal GasLink workers have left their traditional lands.

On Thursday, the RCMP in B.C. sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, telling them the force intends to move its officers out of the territory and station them instead in the nearby town of Houston.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he believes this move meets the original conditions set by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and that the time has come for the barricades to come down.

Trudeau has been under increasing pressure to end the blockades, with Conservatives calling for the government to use force, while the Liberal government insists peaceful negotiations are the only way to a lasting solution.

Canada’s premiers are among those pressing for a swift resolution, including Quebec Premier Francois Legault, who said Thursday provincial police in Quebec would dismantle a blockade in a suburb south of Montreal as soon as an injunction was granted.

Canadian National Railway received a court injunction to end the blockade in St-Lambert Thursday, but so far police have not moved in.

Trudeau spoke with Canada’s premiers Thursday evening by teleconference, and an account of the conversation from his office stressed his recognition of the need to restore rail service across the country and that the federal government is looking at all options to resolve the current interruptions given the impact on the economy.

Trudeau called it a “complex issue” on which he working closely with B.C. Premier John Horgan. He also noted his hope that the RCMP’s offer to withdraw from the traditional territory in B.C. will lead to a meeting between Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to address both urgent and longer-term issues.

ALSO READ: Protesters say they will maintain blockade near Chase ‘as long as it takes’

READ MORE: Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkIndigenousPipelineprotest

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

Just Posted

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Grand Forks and Boundary cancellations, changes due to COVID-19

This newspaper’s list of community events, institutions that change or cancel due to pandemic

Painting birdhouses in lieu of boredom

Elementary school student finds new hobby for entertainment while away from school

Boundary hospital ‘ready for a surge,’ hoping it never comes

The emergency department director confirmed there were active COVID-19 cases in the Boundary

As 240K apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

Wearing non-medical masks can stop spread of COVID-19 before symptoms start: Tam

Health officials had previously not recommended wearing them

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Easter Bunny not a COVID-19 carrier, allowed to do drop offs

World Health Organization grants permission to Bunny as he cannot transfer the virus

COVID-19 world update: 1,000 cases hit U.S. military; Good news in Spain, Portugal

Comprehensive collection of coronavirus news from around the world

Businesses advised to prepare for federal, B.C. COVID-19 assistance

Canada Revenue Agency portal expected to open this week

Most Read