Judge rules Unist'ot'en gate must come down for pipeline - APTN NewsAPTN News

Judge rules Unist’ot’en gate must come down for pipeline

A judge has given the Uni'stot'en Camp 72 hours to dismantle this locked gate across the Morice River bridge.

A judge has given the Unist’ot’en Camp 72 hours to dismantle this locked gate across the Morice River bridge. (APTN/Kathleen Martens photo)

Kathleen Martens
An Indigenous camp was ordered Friday to remove a gate that’s blocking a bridge in northwestern B.C. and holding up a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline project.

Judge Marguerite Church of the B.C. Supreme Court sided with Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., which filed an injunction to get construction going on the $40-billion LNG Canada build.

“People were crying but I feel emboldened because we are getting so much support,” said Warner Naziel of the Indigenous Unist’ot’en Camp – a land-based healing centre on Wet’suwet’en traditional territory south of Houston, B.C.

The locked gate on the Morice River Bridge must come down within 72 hours, the judge ruled.

She described it as an “interim” injunction giving the company access while defendants Naziel, and his partner Freda Huson, mount a fuller defence to the injunction and additional civil suit.

Church said she will hear more arguments on Jan. 31.

“That gate is a safety issue for us,” said Naziel.

“We see the land there for healing – not for profit and monetary gain. It’s obvious the courts agree with that; they don’t understand what we’re doing.”

Coastal GasLink (CGL) told court it can’t re-route the pipeline.

It said it won’t disturb camp buildings and people can remain on site.

“The camp that’s there will remain as is,” said CGL spokesperson Jacquelynn Benson in an interview prior to the judge’s ruling.

“They should feel secure in knowing the camp’s operations will remain unaffected,” she said.

“We simply need to access that public bridge, that public access road, to work on a pipeline right-of-way.”

Benson reiterated the legal action was taken after camp operators and Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs rebuffed repeated attempts to reach a solution.

“We’ve had 120 in-person meetings with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs over the last five years,” she said.

“And we’ve had upwards of around 1,000 interactions, which would be emails, phone calls.”

But the Unist’ot’en have refused to budge, saying they reject fossil fuel development on their land.

People carried this banner as they marched outside Prince George courthouse. (Facebook photo)

“I’m heartbroken,” said John Ridsdale, hereditary Chief Namoks, after the ruling.

“They have a right to commit violence against us to get what they want. The company can instruct the RCMP to come in. The last time we dealt with the RCMP they sent in over 200 members.”

That was Enbridge and its pipeline project, Ridsdale noted.

CGL told court it had a tight timeline and needed to start pre-construction work.

It needs to clear trees and do field work one kilometre south of where the bridge and camp are located.

“We appreciate the court’s decision today in providing us with an interim injunction to move forward with our pre-construction activities,” the company said in a statement late Friday.

“We understand that a delay in the project process means a delay in providing thousands of employment opportunities and millions of dollars in economic benefits to First Nations groups and local communities in B.C. who are counting on it.”

Twenty First Nations along the pipeline corridor have signed agreements with CGL supporting the project.

The company said it move forward “respectfully and safely.

“We understand there are individuals who do not share the same opinions about this project, and we respect that.  We simply ask that their activities do not disrupt or jeopardize the safety of our employees and contractors, surrounding communities or even themselves,” it said.












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11 Responses to “Judge rules Unist’ot’en gate must come down for pipeline”

  1. neechie500@hotmail.com'
    Dwaine December 17, 2018 at 4:20 am #

    A good slap in the face for the protesters and their best reason is the land is for healing,healing what?We need that pipeline

    • Arrownicktree@gmail.com'
      Justis December 18, 2018 at 1:57 am #

      Healing the earth from some peoples selfish greed. Honouring sacred territory and not putting a big foot into the metaphsical mouth of what native culture believes and respects as earths magic. Re route the thing if its really got to go in. But stop putting people out of their own comfort to play god when we all know its a faulty energy plan and its most likely to blow up in less than 2 years anyways. Look at a more neutral comprimise. Change your form of gas from petro to clean energy. For heavens sake if you could feel for a moment what it must feel like to be earth, having all your resources and supplies created and then for free taken with a haste and greed that leave the likeness of the population in poverty, without their own basic rights of being a human met. Have some empathy! Take a brake from logging and fish farming for a day and you will see what it really takes as a nassesity to just be and hopefully happy and breath. Honoring gratitude for the problem solvers ,they are asking for support right now, yet all these corporate minds are seeking is to manipulate the mass and watch the world and every other person but them selves fly up to heaven when it comes to crash and burns this whole human life down around them.

  2. teresa_bry@shaw.ca'
    Terry December 16, 2018 at 8:35 pm #

    There has been a stop work order placed on the pipeline due to the federal government’s inability to recognize first nation’s rights as well as recognize the endangered species act and they want to start taking down trees on first nation’s land? Outrageous!!

  3. alfbradyconsulting@gmail.com'
    Alf Brady December 16, 2018 at 4:41 pm #

    I, like Chief Namoks, am heart broken that Supreme Court Judge, Margurite Church, has supported a Colonial attitude, and decided to continue to disrespect the decision of the traditional territorial caretakers by allowing CGL to proceed with worksite camp preparation. It is the right of the hereditary chiefs to oppose a pipeline that they know will add to greenhouse gas emissions which are driving the world toward disastrous consequences with which their children will be left to deal.
    It would very difficult for healing to go on at the Unist’ot’en Healing Lodge with constant work camp traffic rolling on their territory.
    This judgment is neither “meaningful consultation” nor “reconciliation” and demonstrates a bias toward monetary gain at the expense of the desire of the hereditary people.
    I am an almost retired mental health therapist living on unceced Gitxsan territory in the Kispiox Valley with over 25 years of helping Gitxsan and Wit’suwit’en deal with the legacy of colonialism and residential schools. The Unist’ot’en camp should be respected as a major effort to heal the effects of colonialism and residential schools rather than disrespected as done by Judge Church’s decision.

  4. benjamin.william.baird@gmail.com'
    Ben Baird December 16, 2018 at 2:25 am #

    When the company rep asks that the actions of opponents to fossil fuel expansion “do not disrupt or jeopardize the safety of our employees and contractors, surrounding communities or even themselves” it is vitally important to recognize where the potential danger lies.

    Canada and British Columbia are prepared to use police and military force against a nation whose hereditary title was affirmed in Delgamuukw vs BC. It is despicable to use the rhetoric of reconciliation while tolerating this kind of escalation against the Unist’ot’en and other clans and nations who are asserting sovereignty that they never gave up. As a settler Canadian, I am ashamed for my leadership, and will do what I can to support these good people, who are also standing up for a livable climate. This is what we all depend on – not LNG revenues, not short-term jobs, not investment from PetroChina or Petronas or Mitsubishi. We have to remember what sustains us.

  5. Mudwolmom@gmail.com'
    Trudy Ferguson December 15, 2018 at 10:43 pm #


  6. jenniedoris@gmail.com'
    Jennie December 15, 2018 at 9:58 pm #

    I am so sad.

  7. linda080944@gmail.com'
    Linda KENNEDY December 15, 2018 at 4:24 pm #

    Has the Canadian Courts suddenly become blind/ignorant of Treaty rights & conditions? What in hell is wrong with these self-righteous hypocrites?

  8. kurbantke@hotmail.com'
    Kevin December 15, 2018 at 7:00 am #

    All this just so that the Communist Chinese can produce more electricity to manufacture the cheap junk Canadians buy at Walmart. And thank Ellis Ross for all this.

  9. horsedrag@aol.com'
    Frank Mancuso December 15, 2018 at 4:07 am #

    Blame the CEOs, they took our air, water, land, mountain tops, minerals, healthcare, government and courts. They give back cancer, war, pollution.

  10. shodo.spring@gmail.com'
    Shodo Spring December 15, 2018 at 3:15 am #

    This is tragic. Building a pipeline for profit, ignoring the way it will ruin both climate and local environment is outrageous. That pipeline should not be built, and they do not have the right to build it through unceded territory.
    I thank the Uni’stot’en people for their spiritually-based protection of land and water. And I’m skeptical about the statements made by the company.