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Northern B.C. pipeline opposition calls for Canada-wide “action” this weekend

Blockades and protests expected in northwest B.C. Nov. 5
A makeshift blockade on the tracks at New Hazelton in February 2020. Wet’suwet’en opponents of the Coastal GasLink have called on supporters to take action this weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)

A call to action issued by CGL pipeline opposition group Gidimt’en Checkpoint will see protests take place over the weekend throughout B.C. and Canada

In a movement termed ‘Kill the Drill allied mobilization’ Gidimt’en Checkpoint have asked supporters to “take action” in places such as Terrace, Smithers, Daajing Giids, Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna in B.C. on Nov. 5.

Sources have also informed Black Press Media of potential highway closures and blockades in northwest B.C., which has been a hot spot for CGL pipeline opposition for several years. Closures can be expected along Hwy 16 (intersection of Hwy 16 / 62, right in New Hazelton) and Hwy 37 (near Gitwangak) which have previously seen action along these spots.

In northwest B.C., independent organizers are also planning to hold protests outside Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) offices in Terrace and Smithers.

“Gidimt’en Checkpoint in Wet’suwet’en territory has sent out an alert that the Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline is ready to begin drilling under Wedzin Kwa, the river sacred to the Wet’suwet’en since time immemorial,” read a statement on a website powered by the group Decolonial Solidarity.

The call for this Canada-wide action was issued by key leaders of Gidimt’en Checkpoint, Sleydo’ (Molly Wickham) and Wet’suweten hereditary chiefs Na’Moks and Woos in an Oct.19. video.

“We have exhausted all possible means to assert our decision,” Sleydo said with regard to evicting CGL and RCMP off their traditional territories.

“The only thing that has worked to get the government and industries attention is the money. When the people of the land impact their pocket book is the only time we see real actions and real results,” she said referring to the railway blockades, protests and Canada-wide shut down in 2020 which led the government to sign an MOU with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Further saying there hasn’t been any concrete moves by the government to support their sovereignty, Sleydo’ called on allies, other Indigenous nations, labour unions, anarchist groups, environmentalists, students and climate activists to “organize yourselves and take action in protection of Wedzin Kwa.”

In the video, Sleydo’ further calls on supporters to “go after” the economy of Canada, RBC, governments, the main contractors of CGL and infrastructure.

Sleydo’ is among 19 others facing criminal contempt of court and awaiting trail after protesters were arrested in Nov. 2021 for breaching a court-ordered injunction to stay away from the pipeline construction site near Houston.

READ MORE: Key leader of Coastal GasLink pipeline opposition charged with criminal contempt

Last month, five of those people charged with criminal contempt expressed through defence counsel they intended to plead guilty. The rest, including Sleydo’ have chosen to face trial.

The website which was created to supplement the call to action gives supporters a platform to register, train and host events in their communities.

In most places in Canada, these protests are being held outside RBC offices in Ottawa, Toronto, Halifax, Winnipeg and Montreal among others. The call has also been extended to cities in the U.S. and Germany.

The bank became a target in the pipeline protests after key leaders of Gidimt’en Checkpoint along with several Hollywood A-listers called on RBC to defund fossil fuel projects in B.C.

The 670-kilometre-long CGL pipeline in northwestern B.C. by TC Energy is being built to deliver natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to an LNG Canada facility under construction in Kitimat.

Pipeline opponents have repeatedly stressed environmental concerns of the pipeline being built under the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River), without consent from hereditary chiefs.

However, 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline corridor had signed off on the project since its inception.

B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety said the government’s primary concern is that people are safe.

“We recognize the right for people to engage in peaceful protest. However, obstructing critical infrastructure such as highways and roadways, preventing people from accessing services or engaging in acts that otherwise threaten public safety or cross the line into criminal behaviour are unacceptable,” said a spokesperson in an email statement.

The ministry also said that since enforcement decisions and individual investigations occur at arm’s length from government, they will not direct police on such matters.

Black Press Media has reached out to the RCMP for comment about police planning and response for Nov. 5.

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About the Author: Binny Paul

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