After day and a half of talks, Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary chiefs reached an agreement with the RCMP that includes opening the area that had been off limits to supporters and the media since Monday, when police entered a blockade at the Gidimt'en camp and arrested 14 people.
TransCanada Corp. says it has signed agreements with the elected councils of all 20 First Nations along the path, including the Wet'suwet'en. "But we were in dialogue and continue to be open for dialogue for hereditary leadership in that community".
"We moved forward on the LNG Canada project, which is the largest private sector investment in Canada's history, $40 billion, which is going to produce Canadian LNG that will supplant coal in Asia as a power source and do much for the environment", he said. He said the government was mindful of the opposition at the Unist'ot'en camp but has been in dialogue with the hereditary chiefs.
Headlined "This is Not Over", the statement says that the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs - who control what activities take place on traditional territories - "have by absolutely no means agreed to let the Coastal GasLink pipeline tear through our traditional territories".
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According to the agreement, company workers will be allowed to cross the bridge and RCMP will remove a roadblock that was preventing members of the nation from accessing a Unist'ot'en healing camp near the bridge.
In Kamloops on Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the events of this week when the injunction was enforced show the need to build a different relationship with First Nations.
"The way we are doing resource development, construction, exporting of our resources is changing in this country", he said.
Trudeau said he was pleased tensions had eased between police and the First Nations over the pipeline on Wednesday night, and the time will come to answer questions about what was done and how it could have been handled differently.
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"We know we can not do it without creating partnerships and engaging with Indigenous Peoples who are the traditional custodians of these lands, without thinking deeply about the environmental consequences and the long-term impacts of the choices we're making".
"We tried to keep positive but the unknown out there was scary", she said. He emphasized it was not a deal with the company and the chiefs are still opposed to the project planned on their territory.
"He understands, the federal government understands, that British Columbia is unique in Canada".
With files from Laura Kane in Kamloops, B.C.
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