RCMP arrive at the Gitdumden checkpoint. (Unist’ot’en Facebook photo)

Kwantlen Polytechnic University student association backs pipeline protesters

Indigenous students from Langley, Cloverdale, Surrey and Richmond campuses to meet

  • Jan. 12, 2019 11:05 a.m.

Watching pipeline protesters surrender to police in northern B.C. was an emotional experience for Kwantlen Student Association president Joseph Thorpe.

“I started crying when I saw it for the first time,” said Thorpe, who is Métis and of Cree ancestry.

“It was sad that these people [have been] forced to defend themselves.”

Thorpe told Black Press he was watching a television news report that showed people giving themselves up Monday when officers arrived at the blockade that was preventing access to a pipeline to arrest 14 for allegedly violating a court order to stay away from the work sites.

Protesters had set up two anti-pipeline camps southwest of Smithers to block the project being built by TransCanada subsidiary Coastal GasLink to carry natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat.

READ MORE: RCMP arrest 14 people in northern B.C. over anti-LNG pipeline protest

A statement supporting the protest was issued Friday by the Kwantlen Student Association, which represents over 20,000 people enrolled at Kwantlen Polytechnic University campuses in Langley, Cloverdale, Surrey and Richmond.

It was signed by Thorpe and indigenous student representative Sarah Strachan, who is Tet’lit Gwich’in and a member of the Gwich’in First Nation.

“We are disappointed in Canada’s actions,” they said.

“The government needs to take a hard look at their efforts of reconciliation and how this current action could be detrimental to the relationship Indigenous peoples have with Canada. “

“Canada has no claim to the land in British Columbia, as there was no treaty or agreement signed,” the statement said, and the arrests are “unjust.”

Thorpe said there are plans for a meeting of indigenous students from the various Kwantlen locations, to talk about the protest and plan future action.

An RCMP statement about the arrests at the Gitdumt’en checkpoint on Morice West Forest Service Road said police acted because they realized the matter couldn’t be resolved.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of downtown Vancouver and packed Victory Square on Tuesday in solidarity with the pipeline blockade.

It was one of dozens held across Canada and the United States. It remained peaceful, with dozens of police officers directing marchers and holding back traffic.

READ MORE: ‘Welcome to battleground B.C.’: Hundreds rally against LNG pipeline

Indigenous band councils along the route have approve the project, but some hereditary chiefs remain opposed.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said all five Wet’suwet’en clans, including the Gidimt’en, oppose the construction of oil and gas pipelines in their territory.

In December, the B.C. Supreme Court ordered the removal of any obstructions interfering with the Coastal GasLink project.

Just Posted

RCMP urge caution for back to school drivers

Police are asking drivers to slow down and watch for pedestrians

Traffic accident on Highway 1

Hour long backup from Abbotsford to Langley

Chilliwack encouraged to commemorate liberation of Holland

Planning already underway to mark the 75th anniversary of the event

Speth to take oath of office at special school board meeting

Speth is the newest trustee to join Fraser Cascade school district

Sts’ailes invites adults to become engaged in Halq’eméylem with new video series

‘Qw’oqwel te Qw’oqwel’ gives language learners an immersive way to learn Halq’eméylem

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read