Both sides have signed up for an ‘arrangement’ on land rights and title, while the Wet’suwet’en have given away nothing on the pipeline
Carolyn Bennett returned from her weekend meetings with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs with a piece of paper in her hand – not so much an agreement, as an “arrangement”.
We don’t know what is written on the paper but the federal and B.C. governments fervently hope it is enough to persuade the chiefs to call off nationwide blockades that are asphyxiating the economy. The arrangement will be reviewed by a Wet’suwet’en community deeply divided by the Coastal GasLink pipeline being built on traditional land.
Let’s hope desperation to strike a deal didn’t cloud the Crown-Indigenous Relations minister’s judgment.
The details are not so much sparse as non-existent. But a joint statement issued by Bennett, B.C. minister Scott Fraser and the chiefs hinted at the form a deal might take.
It said two “separate” topics were discussed – recognition of Wet’suwet’en rights and title, and the issues arising from the pipeline. It seems they were kept separate, even if they are clearly linked, because the chiefs would not budge on the latter.
Construction on the pipeline has re-started and Fraser was clear that as far as he is concerned, it has legal clearance.
John Ivison – National Post – March 2, 2020.