Anishinabek Nation grand council chief offers support to Wet'suwet'en

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Glen Hare

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The grand council chief of the Anishinabek Nation has issued a statement in support of those opposing a liquefied natural gas pipeline project being built across Wet’suwet’en First Nation traditional territory in northwestern British Columbia.

The statement from Glen Hare says the Wet’suwet’en fought for many years in the Delgamuukw-Gisday’wa court case to have their sovereignty recognized and affirmed by Canadian law.

He continues by saying the Supreme Court of Canada in 1997 ruled that the Wet’suwet’en people, as represented by their hereditary leaders, had not given up rights and title to their 22,000-square-kilometre territory.

“We support the Wet’suwet’en who are protecting their First Nation lands and territory from encroachment,” he said.

“We have concerns regarding the safety of all those involved on the ground and every effort should be made by all involved to dialogue towards a resolution to the situation. We must ensure that the police tone down their use of force.”

Demonstrations have take place across the country in response to RCMP enforcement of a court injunction last week against Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been blocking construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

The enforcement of the injunction led to the arrests of 28 people for allegedly violating an exclusion zone near the Coastal GasLink construction site.

Hundreds of people surrounded the B.C. legislature Tuesday in Victoria, preventing access to the building and forcing the cancellation of some ceremonial events leading up to the reading of the throne speech.

Victoria police said four people reported assaults, with three people receiving non-life-threatening injuries.

Police say a fourth person was not injured but reportedly had equipment damaged.

Speaking at a news conference, B.C. Premier John Horgan said anti-pipeline demonstrators who prevented people from entering the legislature need to respect the rights of others.

“Peaceful demonstration is fundamental to our success as a democracy,” he said. “But to have a group of people say to others you are illegitimate, you are not allowed in here, you are somehow a sellout to the values of Canadians is just plain wrong, and I want to underline that.”

About 100 protesters also blocked a downtown intersection in Ottawa.

Demonstrators are promising to shut down all provincial government offices in Victoria today in a show of solidarity with opponents of the pipeline project.

Via Rail, meanwhile, has cancelled service on its routes between Montreal and Toronto, and Toronto and Ottawa, until at least the end of the day today because of a blockade near Belleville.

With files from The Canadian Press

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