B.C. Supreme Court extends injunction against Wet’suwe’ten
A B.C. Supreme Court judge has issued an injunction against members of the Wet’suwe’ten Nation who have blocked access to a natural gas pipeline project inside their traditional territory in northern B.C.
According to CBC News, Justice Marguerite Church granted Coastal GasLink’s application for an interlocutory injunction in a Prince George courtroom on Tuesday, restraining protesters from barring workers from getting through their checkpoints along a remote logging road near Houston, B.C.
Wet’suwet’en Nation members Freda Huson and hereditary chief Smogelgem, the two named defendants in the action, had argued the checkpoints are legal under Wet’suwet’en law because the company doesn’t have permission from the head chief of the Dark House hereditary house group to enter or pass through their territory. The judge rejected that.
“The defendants may genuinely believe in their rights under Indigenous law to prevent the plaintiff from entering Dark House territory, but the law does not recognize any right to blockade and obstruct the plaintiff from pursuing lawfully authorized activities,” Church wrote.
The judge’s order confirms an interim injunction that has been in place for the last year, and includes an order providing RCMP with the power to enforce it.
“In the face of the interim injunction order, the defendants refused to voluntarily comply with the order and enforcement action by the RCMP, as well as ongoing RCMP presence, was required to ensure compliance,” Church wrote.
The judge said the company has all the necessary permits and authorizations, and had met the legal tests for an injunction.
Fourteen people were arrested in January, 2019 when RCMP moved in to enforce the interim injunction order.