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Canada’s indigenous block new pipeline

International 12 Feb, 2020 Follow News

Canada’s indigenous people protest over a pipeline

Canada has seen protestors block access to road shipping ports and commuter rail lines in support of indigenous groups fighting the construction of a pipeline on their traditional territory.

Police arrested several activists in Vancouver who were part of a group that has blocked access to four shipping ports in recent days.

The protests are part of a nationwide show of support for the embattled Wetʼtsuwetʼen hereditary chiefs in the province of British Columbia – and for the 21 Indigenous activists who have been arrested in the past two weeks on We’tsuwet’en lands.

The chiefs have steadfastly refused to allow Coastal GasLink to construct part of its 670km natural gas pipeline through their traditional territory.

But last year, the British Columbia supreme court outraged the We’tsuwet’en, granting an injunction in favour of Coastal GasLink, which it said has suffered irreparable harm as a result of sustained opposition to the project. The chiefs maintain they never ceded land title to the province or federal government and thus maintain jurisdiction over the territory.

The US$5bn project has the support of 20 elected First Nations councils along the proposed route. Five of the six elected band councils in the Wet’tsuwet’en nation also support the pipeline. But We’tsuwet’en chiefs say the authority of these groups only applies to reservations – not traditional territory.

On Friday, members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk territory in Ontario parked a dump truck with a snowplough blade near a rail line, halting the Toronto-Ottawa corridor, one of the busiest commuter rail lines in the country. Dozens of trips over the weekend were cancelled.

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