The RCMP has made a conditional offer to leave the Wet’suwet’en traditional territory as long as the road through it is kept clear, presumably for workers to continue building a pipeline.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair made the announcement Thursday mornings saying RCMP will set up in a town close by and then called for all the rail blockades and protests to end.
But leaving the territory was just one of the demands by hereditary chiefs.
“Their harassment of our people and supporters continues. Now they’ll simply base their Mounties out of the local town of Houston. They are trying to instruct us to continue letting CGL do their work and ignore the eviction that we served them with. OUR EVICTION STANDS!,” said Smogelgem, one of the hereditary chiefs, in a statement on Twitter.
The hereditary chiefs called for Canada to be shutdown a couple weeks ago when the RCMP removed land protectors from the land there in a multi-day raid.
Since then that’s exactly what’s happened.
On Feb. 6 the Canadian National Railway’s mainline outside of Belleville, Ont. has been shutdown by a protest involving Tyendinaga Mohawks.
The tracks are not physically blocked, but CN halted the trains nonetheless. The Mohawks are adjacent to the tracks.
Actual rail blockades have sprung up across Canada and protests in the streets.
NDP MP Leah Gazan said now more than ever Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to meet with the five hereditary chiefs opposed to the construction of a 670-km Coastal Gas Line liquified natural pipeline through their traditional land.
“I think it’s critical that the prime minister stays true to his promise in a nation-to-nation relationship and meet with the Wet’suwet’en chiefs,” said Gazan on Nation to Nation Thursday.
“This has gotten way out of hand and part of it because it’s just kind of been left to escalate. I feel for the workers. I feel for the workers that are at the brunt at the failure of governments to deal with longstanding land issues. They’re the ones paying the price. Indigenous people continue to pay the price and it’s time that we sit-down.”
Meanwhile, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer has demanded immediate police action to bust up the protests.
Scheer has called some of the protesters thugs along with other Conservative MPs in the house of commons.
“The thugs are the anti-energy activists who have no connection to the Wet’suwet’en people who causing these disturbances,’ said Conservative MP Jamie Schmale.
Nation to Nation also spoke to reporter Annette Francis who has spent several days covering the protest near Tyendinaga.
Several of the hereditary chiefs will be on the territory there Friday to meet with the Mohawks.
The demonstrators have said they would end their protest if the RCMP left Wet’suwet’en territory.
“Ever since they set up the protest here they’ve said as soon as the RCMP leave them Wet’suwet’en territory they’ll take down the camp. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t but that may change after they meet with hereditary chiefs tomorrow,” said Francis.
See all the interviews in the video below.