Small protest group gathered in Abbotsford as action builds across Canada
VANCOUVER -- A few more than a dozen protesters gathered in the rain in Abbotsford Saturday morning to show their support for the Wet'suwe'ten hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C.
“We're here to demonstrate solidarity with the Indigenous people who are standing up for their sovereignty,” protester Kristin Vanvloten told CTV News Vancouver near the train line at Essendene Avenue.
The action is a continuation of protests that have blocked main roads and stopped traffic for weeks across B.C.’s Lower Mainland, and some drivers expressed their frustrations Saturday morning. A number were heard yelling from their windows, telling demonstrators to "go home."
“It makes me feel sad that people are not more empathetic and understanding of bigger issues,” said protester Eric Chong. “I hope that through dialogue and action we get more people to start listening.”
There were bigger demonstrations across the country Saturday.
Hundreds turned out at Toronto’s City Hall in support of the Indigenous pipeline opponents and another rally was held in Saskatoon.
Protesters also targeted the office of federal Opposition leader Andrew Scheer. Dozens gathered in Regina for a rally called "Check Scheer's Privilege," a reference to his previous assertion that protesters need to check theirs.
Late Friday, a rail blockade near Montreal was dismantled, but there was no sign of movement at a blockade in Ontario, where demonstrators continued to ignore the prime minister’s call to “remove the barricades."
This all comes as construction on a portion of the pipeline in B.C. is halted for 30 days. The province’s Environmental Assessment Office sent a letter to TC Energy, the company building the Coastal GasLink Pipeline project, saying more information was needed from a report submitted in November 2019. The EAO advised the company to further engage with specific Wet’suwe’ten members about a section of the pipeline route and then report back. So far, some hereditary members have refused to meet directly with the company.
In a statement, the Premier’s office clarified that “CGL is authorized to conduct pre-construction activities and this may continue during this 30-day period.”