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)

Wet’suwet’en clan launches civil lawsuit against Coastal GasLink

Gidimt’en seeking damages and costs over destruction of logging road encampment and gate

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

Barriere RCMP are asking, “Do you know who these people are?”

RCMP are hoping someone will recognize the people in these photos who… Continue reading

Barriere RCMP looking for alleged AG Foods shoplifter

RCMP are requesting help in identifying a woman who departed the AG… Continue reading

Valley Voices From The Past: Early policing in the North Thompson Valley

By Nelson Hindle The following is an excerpt from Upper North Thompson… Continue reading

Welcoming the hot weather with a trip to the Splash Pad

The final arrival of scorching temperatures these past few weeks, with Barriere… Continue reading

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Salmon arrive in larger numbers at Big Bar landslide

Arrival follows historic high-water levels that halted migration runs

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

Most Read