CGL Gives Protesters 72-hour Notice
Coastal GasLink, the TC Energy subsidiary contracted to build the 670-km pipeline feeding gas to LNG Canada’s liquefaction and export terminal at Kitimat, on BC’s northern coast, said January 8 it would give protesters in Wet’suwet’en territory south of Houston 72 hours to clear away from its work sites along the Morice forest service road.
The notice follows an injunction issued by the BC Supreme Court December 31, 2019 against the protesters and a January 8 news release from the RCMP in Houston advising that a criminal investigation had begun into a large number of felled trees across the forest service road and caches of old tires and accelerants – gasoline, diesel oil and kindling – found alongside the road, which provides the only access into several work areas along the CGL right-of-way.
“While the RCMP respects the rights of individuals to peaceful, lawful and safe protest, within the terms set by the BC Supreme Court in the injunction, our primary concerns are public and police officer safety,” the news release said. “We will take steps to ensure that those who unlawfully interfere with or threaten the safety of any person or property may be held accountable in accordance with the laws of Canada. This applies to demonstrators, industry employees and contractors, as well as the general public.”
CGL president David Pfeiffer called the findings of the RCMP – Canada’s national police force – “extremely disappointing.”
“Coastal GasLink respects the rights of individuals to peacefully and lawfully protest so long as their activities do not jeopardize the safety of the public, our employees, our contractors, or the RCMP,” Pfeiffer said in a January 9 statement. “Our primary concern is the safety of all users of this public forestry road, including those who wish to protest our activities. Unlawful actions that put people at risk for serious harm are dangerous, reckless and unacceptable, and do not reflect peaceful protest.”
On January 7, CGL wrote to Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Namox with an offer to discuss “issues of importance” to the hereditary chiefs of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en, and said it will delay work at a nearby workforce camp in the hopes that a negotiated settlement can be reached.
Pfeiffer reiterated that invitation in his January 9 statement: “Once again, I invite Chief Namox to meet with Coastal GasLink so we can try to find common ground and a mutually agreeable solution that ensures the safety of all involved and that results in a peaceful resolution.”