Contributed photo of North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney.
CAMPBELL RIVER, B.C. – Rachel Blaney is expressing her concerns over the Wet’suwet’sen blockade in northern B.C.
On Monday, 14 people were arrested at Gitdumt’en, one of two camps set up by the Wet’suwet’sen Nation to protest a pipeline going through their territory.
The Coastal GasLink pipeline project would connect fracking projects in the Peace Region to the upcoming $40-million LNG Canada plant in Kitimat.
Blaney, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Island-Powell River, said she’s “disappointed that the Prime Minister is remaining silent”.
“The government does a lot of talk about reconciliation, but that means showing up and doing the tough work, especially in difficult situations,” she said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Blaney stated that her colleague, MP Nathan Cullen (Skeena-Bulkley Valley), has been “working hard to facilitate peaceful dialogue”.
“He visited the site and was able to secure the passage of a number of Wet’suwet’en chiefs through the RCMP blockade to the Gidimt’en camp,” she said.
“He continues to be in direct contact with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership, the RCMP, the government of British Columbia and TransCanada.”
Coastal GasLink is a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp.
“Last year, the House of Commons passed NDP MP Romeo Saganash’s motion to enshrine the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into Canadian law…a vote supported by the Prime Minister,” Blaney said.
“The Wet’suwet’en have been diligent in their commitment to peaceful protest. We absolutely must respect their rights.”
Blaney added that if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is serious about his commitments to Indigenous Peoples, “he needs to help facilitate a peaceful resolution that respects the rights of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation”.
“I am calling on the federal government to engage with the Wet’suwet’en and demonstrate Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to real and meaningful reconciliation,” Blaney concluded.
Multiple rallies were held across British Columbia on Tuesday in support of the Wet’suwet’en Nation.
The North Island-Powell River riding covers Campbell River, Comox, Areas B and C of the Comox Valley Regional District, Courtenay, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Areas C and D of the Strathcona Regional District, and Powell River.