Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs from left, Rob Alfred, John Ridsdale, centre and Antoinette Austin, who oppose the Costal Gaslink pipeline take part in a rally in Smithers B.C., on Friday January 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

RCMP checkpoint on LNG pipeline ‘arbitrary and discriminatory,’ say B.C. complainants

Wet’suwet’en say RCMP unlawfully restricting access on traditional territory in Coastal GasLink fight

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary clan chiefs and their supporters want a public investigation into the way the RCMP are controlling access along a rural road in northern B.C..

The RCMP have said they set up a checkpoint along the Morice Forest Service Road south of Houston in order to prevent a dispute over the Coastal GasLink pipeline from escalating.

But the chiefs along with the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs allege that the Mounties are unlawfully restricting access on Wet’suwet’en traditional territory.

They have submitted a complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP, asking the chairperson to initiate a policy complaint and public interest investigation.

The RCMP could not immediately be reached for comment.

Harsha Walia, executive director of the civil liberties association, says the application of the RCMP’s enforcement at the checkpoint has been “inconsistent, arbitrary and discriminatory.”

Walia says the coalition has submitted eight first-hand accounts from people turned away as part of the complaint.

Irina Ceric, a non-practising lawyer who tried to visit supporters at a camp beyond the checkpoint, said she was turned away one day because she didn’t have a two-way radio and tire chains but she was allowed through the next day with no questions from a different officer about her equipment.

The B.C. Supreme Court granted Coastal GasLink an injunction on Dec. 31.

READ MORE: B.C. councillor runs afoul of Coastal GasLink protester

The RCMP have said there is an active criminal investigation underway into traps likely to cause bodily harm after patrol officers found felled trees along the road, and piles of tires with jugs of accelerant and fuel-soaked rags nearby.

“There are no reasonable and probable grounds for RCMP to randomly stop vehicles from passing through and requiring identification of all drivers and passengers,” Walia told a news conference Thursday.

She said the Mounties’ actions are “significant, arbitrary and disproportionate to the stated goal of public safety.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coastal GasLink

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

Just Posted

Former Alberni Valley Bulldog Eric Margo shows heart on and off ice

Queen’s University Gaels forward blends hockey with humanitarianism

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘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

Infamous Arrowview Hotel is gone, opening up a new view in Port Alberni

Derelict hotel has had a dubious history in the past few years, from fire to demolition delays

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay, Mill Bay, Brentwood Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules for 60 days starting Saturday, April 4

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

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

Most Read