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.

Just Posted

Smoke-free summer a boon for West Kootenay tourism

Tourism centres seeing numbers up

Black Press Kootenay Career Fair underway in Cranbrook

Today, Thursday, August 22, around 40 employers will be waiting to meet potential new employees

National trail group decries province’s plans for West Kootenay trail

Converting trail back to motorized use will harm its international reputation, says official

Cannings to pedal through South Okanagan — West Kootenay riding

MP leaves from Nakusp on Aug. 23 and ends in Kaleden on Aug. 29.

UPDATED: MV Balfour ferry returns to service

The 65-year-old ferry had been out of action for a month

Black Press Career Fair underway in Cranbrook at Days Inn

Opportunities abound for employers and job seekers

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man tells judge he attempted suicide a month before daughters’ murders

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Thermal imaging cameras eye Salish Sea in hopes of better detecting whales

Cameras installed at BC Ferries’ terminal on Galiano Island, and off southern Gulf Islands

BREAKING: Province approves Surrey police force

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth green-lights city’s municipal police force

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Police watchdog investigating two officers after Langley teen’s suspected overdose

According to IIO, two officers were deployed to help Carson Crimeni but did not locate him before he died

Most Read