Supporters of an Indigenous camp blocking access to a planned pipeline in northern British Columbia say they are anticipating RCMP action over an injunction filed against them.
Jennifer Wickham, a member of the Gidimt’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, says police have gathered in Smithers, B.C., and Houston, B.C., which are the closest towns to the Gidimt’en checkpoint.
TransCanada has said it has signed agreements with all First Nations along the pipeline route to LNG Canada’s $40 billion liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, B.C.
But Wickham says the company does not have the authority to build through Wet’suwet’en territory because the house chiefs, who are hereditary chiefs rather than elected band council leaders, have not given consent.
On Dec. 14, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs issued a statement saying they were deeply concerned by the National Energy Board’s decision denying their request to participate in a jurisdictional challenge to the permits issued to TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline project, which would cross Wet’suwet’en territories.
The RCMP and TransCanada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.