FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – M.P. and Shadow Minister Bob Zimmer says Wet’suwet’en Chiefs and community members should have been included in a memorandum of understanding on rights and title reached with the federal and British Columbia governments.
“For the consultation process to have any semblance of credibility, the elected Chiefs have requested an opportunity for full and informed consent. This includes full engagement with the elected Chiefs and the people of Wet’suwet’en and requires the disclosure of the MOU to the communities in advance of consultations. Due to COVID-19, it is unsafe for members to gather to discuss the MOU and this stands in direct opposition to the spirit of true reconciliation.”
The hereditary chiefs’ decision to sign the memorandum was announced Thursday in a joint statement they issued with the federal and provincial governments.
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The Wet’suwet’en are governed by both a traditional hereditary chief system and elected band councils.
Zimmer goes onto say, “We support the Wet’suwet’en elected Chiefs and community members in calling for the federal government to temporarily halt any announcements on the Wet’suwet’en Memorandum of Understanding.”
Five elected Wet’suwet’en councils have signed agreements with Coastal Gaslink, the company that is building the 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline through northern B.C. to Kitimat on the coast.
-with files from The Canadian Press