B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett speak briefly to the press following Thursday’s discussions with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs. (Quinn Bender photo)

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

Initial talks between the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and ministers from the provincial and federal governments have wrapped up for the day with plans to continue tomorrow.

Speaking to reporters outside the Office of the Wet’suwet’en in Smithers, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett and B.C. Indigenous Relations Minister Scott Fraser said the mood in the room was positive and they’re optimistic about heading into Friday’s discussions.

Neither minister would comment on the groundwork laid today with the hereditary chiefs.

“It’s not appropriate to talk about,” Fraser said. “We don’t want to jeopardize anything. We had a productive day today and hopefully a very solid day tomorrow.”

Hereditary chief Na’moks, who’s taken on the role of spokesperson for the chiefs, did not comment to the press.

READ MORE: Wet’suweten hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks

The meeting comes amid continuing protests and road and rail blockades across the country, including at the B.C. Legislature this week. The protests have been ongoing since early February in opposition to the Coastal GasLink (CGL), a 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline being built through Wet’suwet’en traditional lands.

Na’moks said earlier today it’s still premature to speculate when the blockades will end.

“Most of them [supporters] are awaiting us to request it. If they see progress then things will quickly deescalate. We just ask that things remain peaceful.”

READ MORE: Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Earlier today the RCMP announced they will cease patrols of the Morice West Service Road during the talks. CGL also announced a two-day pause on pre-construction of the pipeline in the Morice River area. These two conditions were critical for the hereditary chiefs to begin talks with the provincial and federal governments.

More to come.

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

Just Posted

Sunday morning fire damages Victoria gas station

The fire on Fairfield Road caused $75,000 in estimated damages to tires and automotive equipment

Deadline extended for annual writing competition

Mail-in entry format makes Victoria Writer’s Society contest perfect for the times

Oak Bay deputy police chief and family cut Guatemala vacation short to return home

Belize border, punctured gas tank part of the adventure

Program makes a connection with isolated Victoria seniors

Phoning Seniors Together program lines up volunteers with seniors at Luther Court

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Most Read