A red dress attached to the 44 kilometre marker of the Morice River Forest Service Road where the Gidimt’en Clan has rebuilt an encampment and gate. The dress is a symbol signifying missing and murdered women. (Facebook photo)

Northern B.C. First Nation clan sues pipeline company

Wet’suwet’en clan seeks damages and costs from Coastal Gaslink over destruction of access point camp

The Gidimt’en (Wolf and Bear) Clan of the Wet’suwet’en are now taking civil action against Coastal GasLink (CGL), the company currently in the pre-construction phase of an LNG pipeline from Northeast B.C. to Kitimat.

A paralegal assistant at the Vancouver law firm of Chantler & Company confirmed the lawsuit was filed yesterday to the British Columbia Supreme Court and is currently being processed.

A Gidimt’en press release stated the clan is seeking special damages, aggravated damages, punitive damages, and costs with interest related to the enforcement on Jan. 7, 2019 of a Dec. 14, 2018 B.C. Supreme Court injunction allowing CGL access to the pipeline right-of-way the Unist’ot’en (Dark House) were blocking with an encampment south of Houston.

During that incident, 14 protesters were arrested, but the charges were later dropped.

READ MORE: Crown won’t pursue charges against 14 pipeline opponents in northern B.C.

“After the raid on Gidimt’en territory on January 7th, 2019, the RCMP occupied the Access Point camp at 44.5 km on Morice River FSR and stood by as CGL, Blastpro Construction and Domcor employees and their agents destroyed the private property of the Gidimt’en Clan,” the July 22 Gidimt’en press release stated.

The amount of the lawsuit has not been disclosed, but the press release suggests even if the clan wins, it will not be enough.

“These avenues of compensation do not even begin to approach the cost of the violence of these companies invading traditional Wet’suwet’en territory,” it read. “The spiritual and emotional traumas these companies have inflicted on the Wet’suwet’en are tremendous and grave. These acts of violence must not go unpunished or unrecognized in the courts.”

Legal fees are being funded, at least in part, by a GoFundMe campaign that was started after the Jan. 7 incident. As of today, it has raised nearly $231,000 of a $350,000 goal.

A spokesperson for CGL said they have not yet been served with the suit and will not comment until such time as that happens.

The encampment and gate on the Morice River road has since been rebuilt, but, according to the Ministry of Transportation and RCMP, the Gidimt’en are not impeding traffic.

READ MORE: Wet’suwet’en gate erected on Morice River road

The ministry delivered a letter June 27 requesting the gate be removed because it is an unauthorized structure.

“The Gidimt’en Hereditary Chiefs remain strong in the defence of their lands against oil and gas pipelines,” yesterday’s press release concluded. “The camp has been rebuilt and we are in need of ongoing support. We continue the fight during our seasonal harvesting, and in the face of continued industry invasion.”

A challenge to the 2018 temporary injunction is still before the courts.

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

Just Posted

Federal justice minister consults with British Columbians on assisted-death law

During a coast-to-coast tour this week, federal Justice Minister David Lametti has… Continue reading

One last blast of winter tonight for the Valley before temperatures on the rise

A snowfall warning is in effect Friday including east Vancouver Island.

YANA celebrating its 30th annual Big Love Benefit Feb. 28

“The extra touches that the committee has added this year are going to knock some socks off.”

Comox’s Cooke wins Boating BC scholarship

Highland grad is currently studying in VIU’s marine mechanical tech program

Comox hit with record-breaking snowfall amid winter storm

Comox area saw 10 centimetres more snow than previous 70-year-old record

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and the winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read