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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

We are extremely proud of the broad support we have across northern BC ... this is why the situation we find ourselves in today is so disappointing

In an open letter to the public this morning Coastal Gaslink (CGL) President, David Pfeiffer, stated:

Coastal GasLink values the strong relationships we have built with our Indigenous partners, contractors and communities, and are striving to build an extraordinary legacy for now and for the future.

As far back as 2012 when this project was first considered, Coastal GasLink engaged with Indigenous communities to learn from them, and to ensure that their traditions and values were respected and protected.

He went on to note, and agree, there had been past economic development project, benefits were not fairly shared with the impacted Indigenous communities. Not so the case with their current project however.

Speaking to this, he observed, “With Coastal GasLink that is not the case. From the beginning, we were determined to ensure that Indigenous and northern communities, residents, businesses and workers across the North would significantly benefit from our project”.

He continued, “We are extremely proud of the broad support we have across northern B.C., and that all 20 elected Indigenous communities have signed agreements with Coastal GasLink, communities that are now realizing the opportunities that were envisioned. We are also proud that we are providing an opportunity for Indigenous equity ownership in the project”.

This is why the situation we find ourselves in today is so disappointing”.

And the situation he was speaking of? 

The December 31st BC Supreme Court decision gave Coastal GasLink interlocutory injunction order against ... persons who interfere with the Coastal GasLink project in and around the Morice River Bridge or the area accessed by the Morice West Forest Service Road.

This morning the RCMP began enforcing that injunction, and arrested several individuals in breach of the injunction.  

In this mornings letter, Coastal GasLink President David Pfeiffer went on to say;

It is unfortunate that one (agreement) could not be found and that the Wiggus process concluded without an agreement. Following the breakdown in negotiations, many statements were issued, including one by Coastal GasLink that committed to continued dialogue as we move forward.

One statement was also issued on Twitter by Chief Smogelgem and Warner Naziel observed Pfieffer, in which they commented, "Efforts to de-escalate the situation on the territories were severed when the Province refused to pull the permits, they issued to CGL.”

Said Pfieffer, "It is disappointing that the Hereditary Chiefs sought to have our legal permits rescinded by the provincial government. We are grateful to the Province for their commitment to our project and for their respect for the six years of exceptional effort expended to achieve not only our permits but also the support of our 20 partner Indigenous communities, local communities and the public who recognize the benefits our project will deliver”. 

Yesterday in a commentary on this blog, Nechako MLA John Rustad commented;
Even though the government knew there was no chance of resolution with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, they had to make the effort”.

As we have all noted however, the efforts have been for not.  Likely why, when Rustad got back to me late yesterday afternoon, he made the remark;

Everything that can be tried has been done. Wet’suwet’en members have been observing, involved and consulted in everything Coastal GasLink has done. Many are working directly on the project.

“There are no options acceptable to the protesters other than to stop building the pipe”, he went on to say.

Many will argue that the efforts by Coastal GasLink, those of Nathan Cullen, the government efforts to get the parties together at the Wiggus Table, numerous community meetings and opportunities for discussion, hearing the concerns of the Hereditary Chiefs, meant nothing if consent by every single party involved was not achieved.

There is no way that could ever happen, with as many people as were involved in the process.

CGL President David Pfeiffer also related his disappointment in not having the opportunity to meet with the Hereditary Chiefs over the past month, and years, saying, “I believe that through dialogue, respect and openness, we could have found a way to work together for the benefit of the Wet’suwet’en people”.

Pfeiffer then continued ...  “Coastal GasLink supports efforts to ensure our contractors and crews can safely resume their authorized and legally permitted work. We will now turn our efforts to removing the obstacles along the route in a safe and environmentally responsible way ... we will also continue to abide by the Access Protocol that the Unist’ot’en terminated and will do everything in our power to bridge the divides that exists and deliver substantial benefits to the Wet’suwet’en people”.


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