Hereditary chiefs have said they won’t meet with government officials until the RCMP leave

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he’s hoping the RCMP’s offer to leave their outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C. will lead to the barricades coming down, as talks aimed at ending the rail blockades crippling the country’s rail network continue.

“I’m very hopeful that that will satisfy the concerns that were raised,” said Blair ahead of a Thursday morning cabinet meeting.

“I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down.”

CBC News has obtained a copy of a letter sent Wednesday from RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan to the hereditary chiefs offering to move the RCMP’s temporary detachment from near the protest site to the nearby town of Houston — as long as Morice West Forest Service Road remains clear. The RCMP confirmed that letter was sent.

“As always, we encourage dialogue over enforcement with a goal of a long-term solution,” Strachan wrote, while asking for a meeting “in the near future.”

In a separate letter to staff, Strachan said the decision to re-assess their presence was “not an easy one to consider.”

“By making this gesture in good faith, we are not only supporting efforts towards a peaceful and sustainable solution, but also facilitating them,” she wrote in the internal email, first reported on by Global News.

“Our hope has always been to create mutual understanding for a peaceful resolution, without the need for police intervention.”

Read full article here.

Catharine Tunney -CBC News – Feb 20, 2020.

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