The RCMP mobile office was closed Jan. 21 but patrols continued along Morice West Forest Service Road. (Trevor Hewitt photo)

RCMP reach deal to end police patrols of Wet’suwet’en lands as pipeline work pauses

Withdrawal opens door for talks today between hereditary chiefs, province and federal gov

The RCMP have ended their patrols of the Morice West Forest Service Road after reaching an agreement with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

In a Thursday news release, RCMP spokesperson Dawn Roberts said they are satisfied with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ commitment to keeping the road open to the public during their talks with the provincial and federal governments.

The agreement was reached amid continuing protests and road and rail blockades across the country, including at the B.C. Legislature this week. The protests have been ongoing since early February in opposition to the Coastal GasLink, a 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline being built through Wet’suwet’en traditional lands.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Talks are expected to begin later today with the five hereditary chiefs and Canada’s Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and her provincial counterpart, B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser.

Coastal GasLink said it would pause construction on the pipeline for two days to give the talks the best chance of success.

“We fully support the efforts of all parties and are committed to finding a peaceful resolution to the current issues,” reads a statement on the company’s website.

Members of the Wet’suwet’en Rangers will patrol the road during the talks and report to the RCMP on whether it remains clear of obstructions.

“The RCMP has confirmed that patrols along the Morice West Forest Service Road will cease during the period of discussions with the government representatives,” Roberts said. “The RCMP has agreed not to patrol the road unless there is an emergency call for service, such as a motor vehicle accident with injuries.”

Removing the RCMP presence from the service road was a key condition for the hereditary chiefs to enter talks with the provincial and federal governments over their opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Once those talks begin and the hereditary chiefs are satisfied with the progress, it’s expected they will issue a request for supporters to remove all rail blockades in Canada erected in support of the chiefs.

The RCMP closed its mobile office on the road Feb. 21 and moved its officers to the nearby detachment in Houston, but kept up daily patrols of the service road.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

READ MORE: First arrests made at BC Legislature after Wet’suwet’en supporters spray chalk on property

READ MORE: B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister


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

LETTER: More pedestrians out, so please drive safely

Pleading with motorists to slow down and to ensure everyone makes it through this challenging time

Televangelist with office in Langley claims to ‘heal’ viewers of COVID-19 through their TV screens

On the contrary, Langley churches offer free resources and goers self-isolate to ‘flatten the curve’

Township firefighters donate blood and deliver meals during COVID-19 crisis

Safe to donate blood during pandemic, says Canadian Blood Services

Langley community gardens reopen

They were closed due to virus concerns, but they have been declared an essential service

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

YThrive Home offers dozens of free workout videos for people during COVID-19 self-isolation period

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at Mission Institution; two other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, says correctional officer

B.C. community service provider hosts friendly art competition for youth

Theme for Pacific Community Resources contest is ‘finding the silver lining in difficult times’

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

TransLink to reduce service on some bus routes, SeaBus, West Coast Express

Changes start April 6 ‘due to low ridership and financial pressures’ amid COVID-19

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Most Read