BC Liberals on Tuesday said that blockades set up by protesters on the Morice River Forest Service Road outside of Houston, B.C., have trapped more than 500 Coastal GasLink workers with dwindling supplies and no clear means of exit, despite a B.C. Supreme Court injunction that is supposed to guarantee Coastal GasLink continued safe access to the region.
However, despite having a duty to support the injunction, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth has been largely absent, staying silent on the issue for 50 days and saying the bare minimum only after the issue had deteriorated to become a dangerous safety threat, they added.
“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 Mike Morris, BC Liberal Critic for Public Safety and Solicitor General. “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.”
The BC Liberals noted that 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.