The RCMP mobile office was closed Jan. 21 but patrols continued along Morice West Forest Service Road. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

RCMP reach deal to end police patrols of Wet’suwet’en lands as pipeline work pauses

Withdrawal opens door for talks today between hereditary chiefs, province and federal gov

The RCMP have ended their patrols of the Morice West Forest Service Road after reaching an agreement with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

In a Thursday news release, RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said they are satisfied with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ commitment to keeping the road open to the public during their talks with the provincial and federal governments.

The agreement was reached amid continuing protests and road and rail blockades across the country, including at the B.C. Legislature this week. The protests have been ongoing since early February in opposition to the Coastal GasLink, a 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline being built through Wet’suwet’en traditional lands.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Talks are expected to begin later today with the five hereditary chiefs and Canada’s Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and her provincial counterpart, B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser.

Coastal GasLink said it would pause construction on the pipeline for two days to give the talks the best chance of success.

“We fully support the efforts of all parties and are committed to finding a peaceful resolution to the current issues,” reads a statement on the company’s website.

Members of the Wet’suwet’en Rangers will patrol the road during the talks and report to the RCMP on whether it remains clear of obstructions.

“The RCMP has confirmed that patrols along the Morice West Forest Service Road will cease during the period of discussions with the government representatives,” Roberts said. “The RCMP has agreed not to patrol the road unless there is an emergency call for service, such as a motor vehicle accident with injuries.”

Removing the RCMP presence from the service road was a key condition for the hereditary chiefs to enter talks with the provincial and federal governments over their opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Once those talks begin and the hereditary chiefs are satisfied with the progress, it’s expected they will issue a request for supporters to remove all rail blockades in Canada erected in support of the chiefs.

The RCMP closed its mobile office on the road Feb. 21 and moved its officers to the nearby detachment in Houston, but kept up daily patrols of the service road.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

READ MORE: First arrests made at BC Legislature after Wet’suwet’en supporters spray chalk on property

READ MORE: B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coastal GasLinkIndigenousPipeline

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Decorated car procession to visit Castlegar care homes

The event is taking place Friday morning

Castlegar and Trail Chevron offering free gas for front line workers

Health care, fire, police, paramedics included in offer

Grand Forks distillery shifts to make sanitizer

How a Grand Forks distillery is stepping up during the COVID-19 pandemic

From medical equipment to water treatment, Teck Trail is an essential service

” … Trail operations is one of a few, and in some cases, the only North American supplier.”

Kootenay gas prices among the highest in B.C

Gas prices are up to 10 cents higher than other neighbouring B.C. regions

‘The Office’ star John Krasinski offers Some Good News in trying times

‘The human spirit still found a way to break through and blow us all away’

No laws in B.C. to force businesses to offer refunds, even during a pandemic

Black Press Media talks to Consumer Protection BC on how to navigate during COVID-19

COVID-19 essential workers can apply for B.C. pre-school child care

Parent referral opens, providers offered emergency funding

Most abiding by COVID-19 rules, back fines, arrests of those who aren’t: poll

But 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures

Walkers, grocery store customers courteous with physical distancing in B.C.

Some cyclists also acknowledge each other and walkers as well on a wide trail

B.C. worker advocate group calls for more sick days, protected medical leave

COVID-19 highlights need for changes to workers legislation: Retail Action Network

New rules issued for B.C. construction projects, work camps for COVID-19

Coastal GasLink, LNG Canada, Trans Mountain and Site C carry on

Most Read