Assailants of CGL workers and equipment targetted in domestic terrorist attack still unknown

Axe-wielding assailant
CGL Morice River drill site, Feb. 17, 2022
Photo courtesy of Coastal GasLink

Just after midnight on February 17, 2022 and unknown group of approximately 20 assailants, some dressed in white others in camouflage, moved in on the CGL Morice River drill site causing what looks to be several million dollars in damage and, axes in hand, forcing workers to hide in their trucks or vacate the site. The apparent act of domestic terrorism has been condemned by both CGL and the Wet’suwet’en.

In a press release last updated on Feb. 18 Ken Wilfur, Vice President of Project Delivery at CGL, states “Our people were terrorized during this violent incident. In the last 24 hours, I have had the opportunity to hear from our workforce, Indigenous and community leaders, governments, and our partners, and all have expressed their outrage about this attack .. We appreciate the outpouring of support for our workers, including the labour unions who represent them, and stand together in condemning these actions.”

Unknown assailant
CGL Morice River drill site, Feb. 17, 2022
Photo courtesy of Coastal GasLink

In a statement issued by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs on Feb. 19 they note “We have been informed of recent vandalism on the yintah regarding Coastal Gas Link equipment and the safety concerns of security personnel. At this time, we do not have enough information to make any comments regarding the situation … Our Elders, Dinize and Tsakë’ze continue to state that we do not support violence, and see conflicts escalating across the yintah and throughout turtle island. We ask you to keep your ceremonies, songs, drumming continuing as the matter is being investigated, seeking the safety of All.”

Work trailer damaged, toppled loader
CGL Morice River drill site, Feb. 17, 2022
Photo courtesy of Coastal GasLink

Heavy equipment damage
CGL Morice River drill site, Feb. 17, 2022
Photo courtesy of Coastal GasLink

It is plausible that the Wet’suwet’en Heriditary chiefs have no knowledge of who did it. They have many supporters country wide including the Haudenosaunee (Mohawks from Ontario) who are staying on Wet’suwet’en territory. It is most likely them that are being refered to in this Global News report where Hereditary Chief Wi’hali’yte (Theresa Tait-Day) condemned the attackers as a “rogue group of people who want to fullfill their own agendas”. She went on to say “our feeling is these are people from outside the province. We would like them to go home”.

Given the axes and the damage done one could certainly imagine how scary it would have been for any of the workers present. One worker refered to the attack as “terrifying, like, it was terrifying”. The assailants commandeered heavy equipment to cause most of the damage. A schoolbus was even used to block police access to the site during the attack. There have been no arrests in the case 8 months later.

Schoolbus blocking police access
CGL Morice River drill site, Feb. 17, 2022
Photo courtesy of Coastal GasLink

The 670km long pipeline which was 60% complete as of February has been the center of controversy since it’s inception. The Hereditary Chiefs who hold title to the land as per the Delgamuukw v. British Columbia case have opposed it passing right next to the Wedzin Kwa (the Morice River) a source of food, water and culture for their people. However, they were not always completely opposed to the project.

After early consultation with CGL the Hereditary Chiefs proposed two alternate routes through their land which they would support. CGL refused both the McDonnell Lake and Kemano route proposals on the argument that it would cost them an “estimated increased capital cost of between $600 and $800 million plus one year delay negatively impacts the viability of the LNG Canada project”.

Rejected McDonnell Lake route
CBC News

CGL and the chiefs were unable to come to an agreement yet the project was given the green light anyway which caused tensions to rise amongst the off-band Wet’suwet’en who swore to protect the Yintah (the land) culminating in Canada wide rail and highway blockades in early 2020 by those showing solidarity for the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.

While the attack on the Morice River drill site and the blockades might seem a distant past, tensions are currently rising to levels that could reach or even surpass those in early 2020. CGL is currently preparing to drill under the Wedzin Kwa and as such the Wet’suwet’en allies are on notice, as per Sarah Beuhler, Stand.earth’s climate finance campaigner. And thus, it seems very likely the blockades will return and possibly that more attacks will occur.



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