Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett in Smithers, B.C. on Feb. 28, 2020. (The Canadian Press)

Day 3: Ministers optimistic as talks with Wet’suwet’en chiefs continue in northern B.C.

The talks began Thursday afternoon in northern B.C. and continued into late into Friday night

Senior government ministers say they remain optimistic talks with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs will break an impasse over a pipeline dispute that has sparked widespread protests and transport disruptions.

Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and British Columbia Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser say the discussions are complex and deal with difficult issues, but are progressing respectfully.

In a news conference today, Bennett said the fact that the conversations are continuing is “a very good sign.”

The talks began Thursday afternoon in northern B.C. and continued into late into Friday night, and another update is expected later today.

Some Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs are opposed to a natural gas pipeline in their traditional territory, an issue that has spurred solidarity protests and blockades across the country.

READ MORE: Talks with hereditary chiefs run into the night

The demonstrations have disrupted passenger and freight train service over the last three weeks and police have recently moved to dismantle some of the blockades.

Via Rail said Friday that most service will be gradually restored as of Tuesday, including between Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

Solidarity protests and blockades have broken out across the country since the RCMP moved into Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia on Feb. 6 to enforce an injunction to stop a blockade erected by those opposed to the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline.

The Wet’suwet’en are governed by both a traditional hereditary chief system and elected band councils. A majority of its councils have approved the pipeline, but some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose it running through their traditional territory.

The dispute also encompasses other unsettled land rights and title issues, including who has the right to negotiate with governments and corporations, the fact that the land is not covered by a treaty and remains unceded, and a 1997 court case that recognized the hereditary chiefs’ authority and the exclusive right of the Wet’suwet’en peoples to the land but did not specify the boundaries.

The Canadian Press

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

VIDEO: How a Langley small business owner ended up working six months for free

Take a close look and get references before you sign a contract, she advises other business owners

A new approach needed to get Canadians home from India, MPs say

Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen and Abbotsford MP Ed Fast issue joint call

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

Insurance shock for Langley condo owners

Claim-free two-year-old townhouse complex told premium will nearly triple

VIDEO: Langley cheer club holds virtual workouts

Video apps allow practice sessions that respect social distancing

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

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

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

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

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

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

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

Most Read