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Morris slams Farnworth for inaction on Coastal Gas Link blockades

Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris.

Prince George-Mackenzie MP Mike Morris is blasting Victoria for its handling of ongoing blockades on the Morice River Forest Service Road which have stranded more than 500 pipeline workers.

On Sunday, members of the Gidimt’en clan ordered all Coastal GasLink employees to leave the Wet’suwet’en territory. At 8 a.m. Sunday, clan members told workers they had eight hours to “peacefully evacuate” the area before the main road into the Lhudis Bin territory was closed at 1 p.m.

The development comes 50 days after the establishment of Coyote Camp, which halted efforts by Coastal GasLink to build an essential part of the 670-kilometre pipeline that would transport natural gas from Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C. to Kitimat in the province’s North Coast region.

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth called on “all those involved to de-escalate the current confrontation and move quickly to eliminate the blockades through peaceful means.”

On January 7, 2020 the B.C. Supreme Court granted an injunction allowing the company to have “continued safe access” to the area.

Morris, who is the Liberal critic for public safety and solicitor general, says the provincial government  has a duty to support the injunction. He slammed Farnworth for waiting more than 50 days to comment on the situation.

“Today is day 53 of the blockades and 527 workers, including Wet’suwet’en members, are trapped behind them with no ability to bring in supplies or leave the site in the case of an emergency, all because this NDP government has refused to step in,” said Morris said Tuesday. “This is not only an incredibly dangerous situation that puts hundreds of people at risk, but it is also illegal, as the project has secured an enforceable court injunction allowing work to continue — in addition to the full support of all 20 elected Indigenous groups across the 670-kilometre route.

“Making matters worse, this NDP government has failed to bring any resolution to the situation, verbally condemning the actions of protesters one minute, while some of their own ministers work to ensure the protesters are welcome and supported the next. Despite his hollow words criticizing the protesters, the public safety minister has utterly failed to do anything to allow the work to continue without harassment. We even raised this issue with the minister weeks ago, asking what his plan is to ensure safety and de-escalate the situation, but we never received a reply. It is time for real action from this government to resolve the situation, uphold the law, and allow this vital project, supported by the communities of the region, to finally be completed.”

Morris says protesters at the site have felled trees along the service road to block the route, in addition to seizing equipment from Coastal GasLink and using it to further impede access. Currently, the Coastal Gaslink project is over halfway complete, with 100 per cent of the route cleared and 200 kilometres of pipe installed to date.

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