The agreement does not resolve a dispute between hereditary chiefs and the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which attracted the country`s attention earlier this year, when blockades and protests took place across the country against a proposed pipeline that will cut off the traditional land of Wet`suwet`s in BC. Coastal GasLink is building a 670 km pipeline from northeast B.C. to an LNG Canada export terminal in Kitimat, but the hereditary home managers of the Wet`suwet`en say it has no authority without their consent. The statement also stated that the memo would not resolve the outstanding dispute over the pipeline: « All parties around the table recognize that the differences regarding the [Coastal GasLink] project remain. » Five of the group councils elected within the Wet`suwet`en have reportedly entered into agreements with Coastal GasLink for the pipeline, but the hereditary chiefs, who say they were not properly consulted, are opposed to the project. « It proves that the blockades make news, and the news puts politicians at stake, » he told The Narwhal newspaper. « But I don`t know if it will lead to a better deal or worse, we don`t know, because we haven`t seen the agreement. » Wet`suwet`en`s heirs say they will sign a proposal for an agreement reached earlier this year with the provincial and federal governments on land rights and titles for their traditional territories in northern B.C. They say the community closures, which were intended to limit the spread of COVID-19, prevented many members from attending meetings with leaders who announced that the agreement had been reached by the nation on Saturday. However, when the agreement was announced on March 1, all parties stated that this did not apply to the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline project, which is to cross the traditional Wet`suwet`en territory near Houston, B.C. The agreement was reached in February and signed by video conference on Thursday. As part of the agreement, Canada and the BC will immediately recognize that the rights and titles of life are held by domestic groups in the country « under their system of governance. » They also commit to entering into negotiations on the legal recognition of the title of « Wet`suwet`en » in their traditional territory of 22,000 square kilometres.
The document does not refer to Wet`suwet`s opposition to the pipeline built by Coastal Gaslink across its territory. But early disagreements don`t mean the talks are doomed to fail, says Daum Shanks. « The conflict we see takes time to continue to permeate and does not automatically mean that this big deal is sloppy. The sky doesn`t fall. A document on the frequently asked questions on the website indicates that the agreement does not affect the pipeline. The statement said the success or failure of the agreement, which has yet to be formally ratified with the province and the federal government, would be determined « in the coming months. » Details of the memorandum were kept confidential, but a joint statement of March 1, issued by B.C province, was declared by the federal government and the heirs of Wet`suwet`en that, if ratified, the agreement would « apply the title on an accelerated basis. » The pipeline first sparked national protests in January 2019, when the RCMP imposed a company injunction to remove barriers on an isolated wooden road in northern B.C.