Campers prepare for RCMP at Gidimt'en gate on Morice West Forest Service Road | (Supplied by Sawyer Bogdan, My Bulkley Lakes Now)
The Gidimt’en are taking their fight to protect their hereditary land to court with a Civil Lawsuit filed today in the Supreme Court.
They are seeking special damages, aggravated damages, punitive damages, and costs with interest after Coastal Gas Links (CGL) bulldozed their camp and structure built at the Gidimt’en Access Point.
Spokesperson for the Gidimt’en Camp Molly Wickham said they are hoping this will put pressure on the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change Strategy to not extend CGL’s permits.
“There is actually a number of conditions that they have to abide by in order to be in good standing with their permits so this relevant at this point and time,” said Wickham.
In December a judge granted CGL a temporary injunction so they could access the Morice River Bridge to begin construction on the natural gas pipeline.
On January 7 RCMP had to enforce the injunction after two roadblocks were erected along Morice River Service Road to block CGL from going onto Wet’suwet’en territory.
Following this CGL bulldozed all of the structures that had been set up at the site which CGl has said in a previous statement was fully permitted.
After the roadblock was taken down, the Gidimt’en had intended the camp to be used as a cultural site while still allowing work crews to go through because the tents in question were off to the side of the road, and not blocking access.
Chief Na’mocks Hereditary Chief of the Wet’suwet’en said the clan has the full backing of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs because what is happening goes against their rights and title.
“It’s a slow process that we are going through right now and it seems every time we do something for the rights of our land, our water, our rights and title that not only the province of British Columbia but Canada itself puts obstacles in and for CGL to move forward in the action they have it is just another example of that.”
He added they have followed hereditary laws to protect their land so the CGI contractors that are working there are illegally on their territory and should be held accountable.
The Delgamuukw Gisday’Wa court case in 1997 proved that Wet’suwet’en had never signed any treaty or giving up rights and title over their land, but the process is still underway to affirm those rights and titles.
A judge is now deciding whether or not to extend the temporary injunction allowing construction to continue, but until that time, according to the injunction, CGL is allowed to continue building.
At this time Costal Gas Links has not respond to requests for comment.