RCMP Asst. Comm. Eric Stubbs said police will review their actions in clearing out pipeline protest camps in northern B.C during a press conference in Surrey on Jan. 14. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)

RCMP to review actions at Indigenous pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

The BC RCMP say they will be reviewing their actions in the clearing of a pipeline protest camp last week in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory south of Smithers.

Speaking at their headquarters in Surrey on Monday, Asst. Comm. Eric Stubbs said he hoped a recently signed agreement coupled with a temporary detachment of officers sent to the area will lead to more peaceful protests going forward.

READ MORE: Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

WATCH: ‘Welcome to battleground B.C.’: Hundreds rally against LNG pipeline

Tensions have been high at the two protest camps, and last week 14 people were arrested as police tried to enforce a court injunction to allow workers access to the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

When complete, the 670-kilometre pipeline will ship natural gas from the Peace region to a $40-billion LNG Canada export facility in Kitimat.

Stubbs said police went in on Jan. 7 to clear a gate set up at the Gitumd’en camp after talks to resolve the conflict peacefully failed.

RCMP went over a barricade set up by protesters in what Stubbs called a “extremely challenging situation” for officers.

“The protesters’ reaction to the police ranged from passive resistance to active resistance to actual assaultive behaviour,” Stubbs said.

“One person secured themselves to the bottom of the barricade, making climbing over the gate necessary. Two others attached themselves to the underside of a bus that was blocking access to the bridge.”

Stubbs addressed “some concerns over our actions,” including police in tactical gear shown in videos that were taken at the protest camps.

Protesters have objected to the use of RCMP on Indigenous traditional territory, saying Canadian police have no jurisdiction in the region.

“Given the remoteness of the location and the unpredictability of what we could have faced, we developed an operational plan that included moving additional police resources into the area,” Stubbs said.

He said Mounties will conduct an “after-action review” by looking through body cam, drone, helicopter, RCMP and publicly available videos.

“To date, we have not identified any issue in police officer conduct.”

The agreement includes sending a temporary RCMP detachment to the region and allowing Coastal GasLink workers access to their worksites, while protecting the Wet’suwet’en’s right to protest.

It also allows a Unist’ot’en healing camp to remain in place and for Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to provide “cultural awareness training” to officers.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Open burning prohibitions to be rescinded Sept. 30

The following activities will be allowed throughout the CFC’s jurisdiction:

Farmers’ market harvests successful season

Community steps up, supports vendors

School demolition brings up memories

Darlene ‘Dar’ Hastings couldn’t wait to attend the new 100 Mile High when it opened in 1960.

Volunteering ‘best way to expand your bubble’

Val Severin serves the community as a way to give back

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

B.C. food and beverage producers set record sales in 2019

Farmed salmon again leads international exports

Most Read