Trudeau’s cabinet forced to leave, unable to attend their meeting this afternoon at Deifenbaker federal government building because of hundreds occupying this space. Photo: Preethy Sivakumar/Facebook
Trudeau addresses Indigenous forum in Ottawa as First Nations protesters march through city
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s opening remarks to Indigenous leaders attending an annual forum in Ottawa today were delayed after anti-pipeline protesters breached security at the venue to stage a sit-in.
Trudeau appeared at the Modern Treaty and Self-Governing First Nations Forum this afternoon. The prime minister’s statement was put on hold after hundreds of Indigenous protesters marched from Parliament Hill to the forum’s venue at Ottawa’s old City Hall on Sussex Drive and entered the building.
The marchers are protesting the actions of RCMP officers in northern British Columbia. Mounties there have arrested 14 people to enforce a court injunction allowing Coastal GasLink access to a pipeline project near Houston, B.C.
Jan 8, 2019: Indigenous protesters take up positions in Ottawa’s Old City Hall to protest the RCMP’s actions in removing protesters arrested in B.C. (CBC/Tom Parry)
The Coastal GasLink pipeline is meant to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the coast, where the LNG Canada facility is scheduled for construction.
Indigenous protesters had blocked a road and were preventing workers from passing road checkpoints unless they could prove they had consent from hereditary leaders.
A Jan 8 rally in Prince George, BC, in solidarity with those arrested on Jan 7, 2019, at Gidimt’en checkpoint. Photo: Facebook
A solidarity rally in Victoria, BC, on Jan 8, 2019. Photo: Facebook.
TransCanada has said it signed agreements with all First Nations along the proposed pipeline route to LNG Canada’s $40 billion liquefied natural gas project. But the hereditary leaders say those agreements don’t apply to traditional territories.
The B.C. Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General said in a statement police enforcement of the injunction “is an operational matter for the RCMP and is entirely at arms-length from government.
“We recognize the right for people to engage in peaceful protest. In any situation such as this, we hope all parties find a safe and mutually respectful resolution.”
The pipeline project is within B.C.’s borders and the federal government is playing a minimal role in the project. The RCMP serve as a provincial police force in B.C.