Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett in Smithers, B.C. on Feb. 28, 2020. (The Canadian Press)

Day 3: Ministers optimistic as talks with Wet’suwet’en chiefs continue in northern B.C.

The talks began Thursday afternoon in northern B.C. and continued into late into Friday night

Senior government ministers say they remain optimistic talks with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs will break an impasse over a pipeline dispute that has sparked widespread protests and transport disruptions.

Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and British Columbia Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser say the discussions are complex and deal with difficult issues, but are progressing respectfully.

In a news conference today, Bennett said the fact that the conversations are continuing is “a very good sign.”

The talks began Thursday afternoon in northern B.C. and continued into late into Friday night, and another update is expected later today.

Some Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are opposed to a natural gas pipeline in their traditional territory, an issue that has spurred solidarity protests and blockades across the country.

READ MORE: Talks with hereditary chiefs run into the night

The demonstrations have disrupted passenger and freight train service over the last three weeks and police have recently moved to dismantle some of the blockades.

Via Rail said Friday that most service will be gradually restored as of Tuesday, including between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

Solidarity protests and blockades have broken out across the country since the RCMP moved into Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia on Feb. 6 to enforce an injunction to stop a blockade erected by those opposed to the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.

The Wet’suwet’en are governed by both a traditional hereditary chief system and elected band councils. A majority of its councils have approved the pipeline, but some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose it running through their traditional territory.

The dispute also encompasses other unsettled land rights and title issues, including who has the right to negotiate with governments and corporations, the fact that the land is not covered by a treaty and remains unceded, and a 1997 court case that recognized the hereditary chiefs’ authority and the exclusive right of the Wet’suwet’en peoples to the land but did not specify the boundaries.

The Canadian Press

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

Oak Bay Police Chief Const. Andy Brinton passes the torch this summer

Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties to take over position in September

Victoria Police see new trends in calls due to COVID-19

Police link jump in domestic, mental health calls to pandemic

VIDEO: Musician stays physically distant in courtyard show for Langford retirees

Bob Nelson found a way to continue to play for retirement community residents

COVID-19: Health care workers seek alternative housing options to prevent families from getting sick

Volunteers, residents and businesses step up to provide frontline workers with alternative housing

BC Parks Foundation organizes virtual picnic for the province

Join a B.C.-wide picnic online Saturday, March 28

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help locating 17-year-old girl believed to be with 36-year-old man

Mary Cyprich, missing since Thurday, might be in company of Force Forsythe

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Most Read