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

Maple Ridge has resident excluded from Anita Place

Dwayne Martin has agreed to a timeline that will see him leave the encampment.

Looking Back: Searching for Pitt Lake gold

‘Facts and fantasy in the Legend of Slumach.’

Surrey RCMP launches online crime reporting tool today

The online crime reporting tool goes live Monday but for emergencies people should still call 911

Sun shines on Car Free Day in Maple Ridge

First ever event featured live music, vendors and activity stations

Cyclists take over Maple Ridge

More than 100 cyclists took part in the 17th annual Race the Ridge

‘This is unbelievable:’ Raptors dazzled by massive crowds at downtown Toronto parade

Mayor John Tory declares it ‘We The North Day’ after team’s historic NBA title win

Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

BC Ferries adds extra and late night summer sailings

Seasonal adjustments to sailing times also in effect on many routes

People throwing food at a bear in Fernie alarms conservation groups

“Approaching and feeding bears contributes to habituation,” says conservation group

Feds announce $50M strategy to fight dementia

Emphasis is on prevention and and supporting caregivers

Federal Liberals’ plan to help first-time homebuyers to kick in weeks before election

Ottawa to pick up 5% of a mortgage on existing homes for households that earn under $120,000 a year

Parents of B.C. murder victim want her personal belongings back

Lisa Dudley’s parents, Rosemarie and Mark Surakka, were at the Mission RCMP detachment Sunday

Most Read