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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Protect kids from online predators: Surrey RCMP

Reports of child porn increased between 2017 and 2019, police say

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

Delta council approves plan to reopen city facilities

Next phase of plan includes outdoor pools, summer day camps, outdoor fitness programs

Education minister announces new South Surrey elementary school

Additions at two elementary schools also announced

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Vancouver Island First Nations gather to remember woman fatally shot by police

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council requests an independent investigation

VIDEO: Pitt Meadows dentist gets grand welcome home after two-month COVID-19 battle

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Stray dog with duct tape around muzzle spotted in Abbotsford

Pooch has been spotted over two days, but has escaped capture so far

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Most Read