BC RCMP Say They Will Leave Wet'suwet'en Territory If The Barricades Come Down
They hope to find a long term solution.
The B.C. RCMP has offered to leave Wet'suwet'en territory in the near future, provided the roads around the protest site stay clear. RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan has sent an internal letter to the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, offering to reduce police detachment from the area, as long as the Morice West Forest Service Road is free of blockades. The B.C. Supreme Court had issued an injunction earlier in the month that allowed RCMP to clear protestors blocking the public road.
The blockades on this service road were organized by the Wet'suwet'en chiefs to protest the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that would transport natural gas to the B.C. coast, as reported by CTV News. The service road leads to the project's worksite.
According to CBC News, the arrests that took place in Northern B.C. as a result of the injunction triggered protests and rail blockades all over the country in support of the Wet'suwet'en people.
Fromto to , protestors have been taking to the streets and train tracks over the last two weeks to stand in solidarity.
In a press release sent to Narcity, Sgt. Janelle Shoihet detailed the contents of the letter sent to the hereditary chiefs in Northern B.C.
The letter emphasizes that "if the commitment continues to keep the entire Morice West Service Road area open, then the need for the CISO has diminished or decreased."
In a separate statement issued to B.C. RCMP, Strachan expressed her appreciation for RCMP officers for "professionalism displayed during the enforcement of the BC Supreme Court injunction and subsequent demonstrations."
She also stated that the presence of RCMP in Wet'suwet'en territory has been "referenced as a barrier to further dialogue and decisions."
Shoihet concluded the statement by highlighting how the RCMP "support the efforts underway to find a long term solution."
The letter also broaches the possibility of a meeting between RCMP and the Wet'suwet'en chiefs in the "near future," according to CBC News.
The offer to move off Wet'suwet'en territory has evoked responses from politicians across the country.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said that this letter will "satisfy the concerns that were raised," as reported by CBC.
Whereas Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller expressed that "these are opportunities to come to a peaceful resolution, which is what we've always aimed for," said CTV.
The National Post explained that the hereditary chiefs would not meet with federal or provincial representatives until the RCMP left their land.
It remains unclear whether this letter by RCMP will lead to a meeting between hereditary Wet'suwet'en chiefs and government officials.