RCMP patrols up and down the Morice West Forest Service Road in Wet’suwet’en territory are unacceptable, says a hereditary chief.
“The police are still out on the territory; it was simple – first we wanted the CISO office (Community Industry Safety Office) shut down, which they have shut, they have not moved it and also the patrols,” said Na’Moks, also known as John Ridsdale.
“Also Coastal Gaslink to cease work, they are doing minimal work but just the duress of having things happen when we are in discussions.”
The removal of the RCMP from the territory was a demand hereditary chiefs made prior to any talks to end the conflict between them and Coastal Gaslink – the $6.6 billion pipeline that will carry fracked natural gas through the land they claim.
Thousands of kilometres to the east, Mohawk of Tyendinaga vowed to remain in place until they got word that the Mounties had left. On Monday, Ontario’s Provincial Police moved in on that protest outside Belleville, Ont., two hours east of Toronto.
The police say 10 people were arrested and the camp by the side of the CN Rail line is mostly cleared.
The protest camp never blocked the tracks.
Na’Moks said progress was being made in talks with the federal government but then Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that the blockades had to come down.
Na’Moks said he felt if they were given more time to negotiate, they could be in a different position now.
“It’s unfortunate that the prime minister didn’t get needed information before he did his press conference,” said Na’Moks. “I think maybe the tone would have been different and also for him to call on the Ontario Provincial Police to move in on our Mohawk cousins, I don’t think that would have happened.”