A red dress attached to the 44 kilometre marker of the Morice River Forest Service Road where the Gidimt’en Clan has rebuilt an encampment and gate. The dress is a symbol signifying missing and murdered women. (Facebook photo)

Northern B.C. First Nation clan sues pipeline company

Wet’suwet’en clan seeks damages and costs from Coastal Gaslink over destruction of access point camp

The Gidimt’en (Wolf and Bear) Clan of the Wet’suwet’en are now taking civil action against Coastal GasLink (CGL), the company currently in the pre-construction phase of an LNG pipeline from Northeast B.C. to Kitimat.

A paralegal assistant at the Vancouver law firm of Chantler & Company confirmed the lawsuit was filed yesterday to the British Columbia Supreme Court and is currently being processed.

A Gidimt’en press release stated the clan is seeking special damages, aggravated damages, punitive damages, and costs with interest related to the enforcement on Jan. 7, 2019 of a Dec. 14, 2018 B.C. Supreme Court injunction allowing CGL access to the pipeline right-of-way the Unist’ot’en (Dark House) were blocking with an encampment south of Houston.

During that incident, 14 protesters were arrested, but the charges were later dropped.

READ MORE: Crown won’t pursue charges against 14 pipeline opponents in northern B.C.

“After the raid on Gidimt’en territory on January 7th, 2019, the RCMP occupied the Access Point camp at 44.5 km on Morice River FSR and stood by as CGL, Blastpro Construction and Domcor employees and their agents destroyed the private property of the Gidimt’en Clan,” the July 22 Gidimt’en press release stated.

The amount of the lawsuit has not been disclosed, but the press release suggests even if the clan wins, it will not be enough.

“These avenues of compensation do not even begin to approach the cost of the violence of these companies invading traditional Wet’suwet’en territory,” it read. “The spiritual and emotional traumas these companies have inflicted on the Wet’suwet’en are tremendous and grave. These acts of violence must not go unpunished or unrecognized in the courts.”

Legal fees are being funded, at least in part, by a GoFundMe campaign that was started after the Jan. 7 incident. As of today, it has raised nearly $231,000 of a $350,000 goal.

A spokesperson for CGL said they have not yet been served with the suit and will not comment until such time as that happens.

The encampment and gate on the Morice River road has since been rebuilt, but, according to the Ministry of Transportation and RCMP, the Gidimt’en are not impeding traffic.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en gate erected on Morice River road

The ministry delivered a letter June 27 requesting the gate be removed because it is an unauthorized structure.

“The Gidimt’en Hereditary Chiefs remain strong in the defence of their lands against oil and gas pipelines,” yesterday’s press release concluded. “The camp has been rebuilt and we are in need of ongoing support. We continue the fight during our seasonal harvesting, and in the face of continued industry invasion.”

A challenge to the 2018 temporary injunction is still before the courts.

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

Just Posted

Vancouver Island farmers demand on-site slaughter

COVID-19 pandemic puts supply chains at risk, says group

COVID 19: Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council, other First Nations mobilize resources

Some Indigenous communities are enacting emergency measures to cope during pandemic

Tofino and Ucluelet distilleries step up with hand sanitizer

Mass supply delivered to emergency operation centres in Tofino, Ucluelet, Bamfield and Port Alberni.

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 morning update: Olympics delayed one year; 12,000 health care workers infected

Comprehensive world news update: Lockdown in UK showing signs of hope

Newspapers are safe to touch, World Health Organization confirms

Just make sure to wash your hands as you would after touching any surface or object

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Most Read