Premier John Horgan has appointed Nathan Cullen as a liaison between the province and the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.
Cullen, a former member of parliament for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, is tasked with acting as an intermediary by providing fact-finding, facilitation and analysis to support a peaceful resolution to the Coastal Gaslink dispute.
“I’m pleased all parties have agreed to the appointment of a liaison,” Premier Horgan said. “Nathan has agreed to act as an intermediary in the hopes of finding a solution to this challenging dispute.”
Cullen will work with the Wet’suwet’en Denezeh and Tsakozeh, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Coastal GasLink, the provincial public service and other parties. His focus will be on de-escalating the conflict surrounding the court-ordered interlocutory injunction regarding access to the Morice West Forest Service Road.
Coastal GasLink is welcoming Cullen’s appointment and continues to seek a meeting with Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership.
“Today, Coastal GasLink is reiterating our request to meet and engage with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs,” said Coastal GasLink president David Pfeiffer. “Our first priority is to find a peaceful resolution to the issues at hand and to avoid enforcement of the injunction granted by the courts.”
He said construction of the pipeline is underway and more than 1,000 people are employed. The project is progressing on schedule and is planned for 2023 in-service date.
The project route being built is fully permitted and is the result of rigorous fieldwork and consultation with Indigenous and local communities, said Pfeiffer. Coastal GasLink adjusted its original routing after consultation with Indigenous groups in the area of the Morice River near Houston, including Wet’suwet’en leaders, to protect sensitive cultural areas.
To date, the schedule had not been significantly impacted by the blockade, and they have the ability to make up lost time, he said.
“However, time is running short,” he said. “I am pleased that Premier John Horgan has appointed Nathan Cullen as a liaison between the province and the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and remain hopeful that the Chiefs will meet with Coastal GasLink and find a peaceful resolution to the current situation.”