A Nelson police officer speaks with protesters outside Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall’s office during a rally on Jan. 30. Mungall has closed her office following a meeting with three protesters on Monday. Photo: Tyler Harper

B.C. energy minister closes Nelson office after protester chains self inside

The incident happened after a meeting between Michelle Mungall and Coastal GasLink protesters Monday

Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall has closed her office after a meeting with Coastal Gaslink protesters ended in one of them being chained to the front door.

A protest against the construction of a Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline on unceded Wet’suwet’en land was held outside Mungall’s Nelson office on Jan. 30, during which demonstrators demanded a meeting with Mungall.

Mungall, the province’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, agreed to a 30-minute meeting with three demonstrators on Monday.

“When the time came to conclude our meeting they became very verbally aggressive and on their way out the door one of them chained themselves to my office door and police had to be called,” Mungall told the Nelson Star, a Black Press Media publication.

“That’s not a safe work environment for my staff, so until people have cooled off my staff are working from home.”

Sgt. Dan Markevich of the Nelson Police Department told the Star that officers removed the chained protester from inside the office but made no arrests.

WATCH: Nelson protesters rally in support of Wet’suwet’en pipeline blockade

READ MORE: More than a ‘protest camp’: Unist’ot’en camp residents on life on the land

READ MORE: Unist’ot’en demand Coastal GasLink stop work at northern B.C. pipeline

One protester has remained camped outside the office, located at 433 Josephine St., which has remained closed since Monday. Mungall said she does not yet know when the location will reopen, but said constituents can still contact her staff via email and phone.

Kiala Loytomaki, one of the people who met with Mungall, said the group had requested the minister alongside the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission issue a stop-work order to Coastal Gaslink pending an audit of the province’s role in the pipeline’s construction.

“When we started asking her questions, she said she wanted to engage in respectful dialogue and that she wouldn’t answer yes or no questions because that was not respectful dialogue,” said Loytomaki, who characterized the meeting as professional and non-violent.

The provincial government announced Thursday it was meeting with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in March to begin a process of reconciliation.

“This process has emerged from decades of denial of Wet’suwet’en rights and title. Both parties believe that the time has come to engage in meaningful nation-to-nation discussions with the goal of B.C. affirming Wet’suwet’en rights and title.”

The statement adds “our commitment to lasting reconciliation is not connected to any specific project.”

Loytomaki promised further, peaceful action from local activists.

“We’re not going to stop trying to have a conversation with Michelle until she shows that she has a heart in this and cares about Indigenous people on these lands that we’re illegally occupying right now,” she said. “There will be more to come.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

New owner, new era for junior B Islanders

Carl Ollech takes the reins at Kerry Park

Shirley Skolos, former Citizen publisher, dies after battle with cancer

Well known for her enthusiasm and energy, Skolos succumbed early Aug. 21

Fire damages Vancouver Island medical marijuana facility

Fire broke out at an industrial facility at the corner of Drinkwater… Continue reading

Memorable weekend of family fun at Lake Cowichan celebrates 75th anniversary

From parading a birthday cake through town to the return of timbersports, the big event was great

One dead after work-place accident

Incident under investigation

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Retired Vancouver Island teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Patrick Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Most Read