By Kevin Orland
The potential agreement provides a way forward on issues including land rights and title, Sarah Plank, a spokeswoman for British Columbia Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser, said in an email. The deal still needs to be ratified by members of the indigenous group, and further details of the proposal won’t be released until that occurs, Plank said.
Some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, along with Fraser and Federal Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett, met over the weekend in Smithers, British Columbia, to try to resolve a conflict over a natural gas pipeline that has spurred demonstrations across the country.
Some members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation sought to block the construction of TC Energy Corp.’s Coastal GasLink pipeline through their territory earlier this year, and some of the protesters were arrested. In the past three weeks, demonstrators showing solidarity with those Wet’suwet’en have blockaded rail lines, ports and other key economic arteries.
The blockades have backed up cargo-ship traffic and caused temporary halts to the nation’s passenger and freight train services, delaying shipments of goods and prompting concerns that the demonstrations may hobble the country’s economic growth.