Construction of the pipeline continues. No timetable has been set for a possible vote on EU membership of the agreement. Now that a proposed agreement has been reached, after three days of discussions in Smithers, B.C. between hereditary chiefs and the high-level ministers of the Federal Federation and the B.C. Governments, the RCMP and the company are back and are working again in the region. The hereditary chiefs of a first nation in British Columbia, whose opposition to an oil pipeline sparked massive protests, have reached a tentative agreement with Canadian authorities. Ironically, the agreement does not cover the pipeline itself, but what many see as a major problem. Members of the Mohawk First Nation in Quebec maintain their rail blockade south of Montreal until they receive more information about the agreement. The Wet`suwet`en are governed both by a traditional system of hereditary chiefs and by elected group councils. A majority of his councils have approved the pipeline, but some of the hereditary chiefs of the Wet`suwet`en oppose it crossing their traditional territory. Although the text of the agreement has not been published, it must first be approved by the people of wet`suwet`s.
It does not deal with the pipeline itself, but is pursuing a pioneering dispute that was last tried 23 years ago. “We just haven`t reached the consensus point where we`re arguing about how best to achieve this. There are still pockets of this country and the political debate is disputed over whether the environment should be protected or not… It can change quite quickly,” Trudeau said in a speech in Toronto. The elected council and 19 neighbouring First Nations support the pipeline. They have signed revenue-sharing agreements and employment contracts with pipeline owners. Five out of thirteen hereditary leaders and their supporters are opposed. A hereditary chief and high-ranking government ministers say they have secured a proposed agreement for the recognition of land rights introduced more than 20 years ago in a Supreme Court decision. Last year, the province of B.C. set up a table to discuss land and property rights with the Wet`suwet`en, after 14 people were arrested in January 2019 for blocking access to the pipeline site. The province has placed former NDP MP Murray Rankin as a negotiator, but progress has been limited.
The parties agree that the proposal is an important step in discussions on a pipeline dispute that has led to demonstrations of solidarity across Canada in recent weeks.