Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement about protests at the Parliament Buildings in Victoria and in communities throughout British Columbia:
“British Columbians have the right to peaceful protest. We support people in the exercise of their democratic rights – within the law.
“That said, I understand the frustration of people who have been unable to go to work today, who have been unable to enter government buildings or have been unable to get around in their communities.
“My government, represented by Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, met on an urgent basis for two days in February in an effort to find a peaceful resolution to the impasse regarding the Coastal GasLink project. Regrettably, the talks were unsuccessful.
“My government continues to be available to engage with the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs through the Wiggus Table discussions. We are also engaged in ongoing reconciliation discussions, which are focused on rights, title, self-government and self-determination. Those channels of communication remain open.
“These events show us why meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is our shared responsibility and is critical to our province and our country. This was a commitment my government made in good faith two and a half years ago, and as Premier, I am determined to see it through.
“The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act passed the legislature with a unanimous vote. Our work here has not ended – it has just begun.
“Reconciliation is hard work. It does not begin or end with a single decision, event or moment. No single one of us decides what reconciliation can or should look like. It is a shared journey we are on together.
“We know that this work isn’t easy. If we’re going to achieve it, we have to stay committed to this process, keep engaging with one another and find common ground.
“As we move towards a collaborative action plan flowing from the unanimous passage of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, I am confident we will get there together.”