British Columbia

B.C. man who tried to stop pipeline with his skidoo won't face contempt charge

An Indigenous man who tried to stop a $6 billion dollar pipeline project with his snowmobile had criminal contempt proceedings dropped Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in Prince George.

Indigenous man on snowmobile turned around Coastal Gaslink workers on snowshoes

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with numerous Indigenous communities. But the Unist'ot'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en Nation opposes the pipeline project through its traditional territories. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

An Indigenous man who tried to stop a $6 billion dollar pipeline project with his snowmobile had criminal contempt proceedings dropped Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in Prince George.

On March 2, Rob Alfred stopped his skidoo on a snowy trail near Houston, B.C. According to a video, Alfred filmed and posted on social media, he then told Coastal GasLink workers on snowshoes they were trespassing on Indigenous Wet'suwet'en territories and needed to leave.

The encounter happened almost two months after 14 other protesters were arrested by heavily armed police at an Unist'ot'en blockade. News of those arrests sparked demonstrations across Canada and made international headlines. All contempt proceedings against the 14 were dropped in April. 

On Jan. 7, 2019, RCMP enforced an injunction ordering people to stop preventing Coastal GasLink workers from accessing a road and bridge. Fourteen people arrested that day have had contempt proceedings dropped. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

Unist'ot'en opposes $6 billion pipeline project

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with numerous Indigenous communities. But the Unist'ot'en clan of the Wet'suwet'en Nation oppose the pipeline project through its traditional territories.  

"We are defending the yintah (our territory) by occupying, patrolling, and turning away any industry that is not authorized," Alfred wrote in a social media post alongside the video of his encounter with Coastal GasLink.

The video was also mentioned by lawyers in court Monday.

Snowshoeing pipeline workers turned back by man on skidoo

Shot from Alfred's perspective, the video show two people in hard hats and high visibility jackets moving through deep snow with poles and snowshoes.

Alfred tells the man in the lead that he is trespassing and needs to leave. 

The Coastal GasLink worker then retrieves a piece of paper from his jacket and reads,  "Sir ... you are impeding us. Can you please move your snowmobile out of the area? ... We have an injunction." 

Alfred tells them he won't move his snowmobile and that the injunction is invalid. The two workers then turn around and leave. 

Criminal contempt proceedings halted 

Monday, in BC Supreme Court, Crown lawyer Oliver Fleck told the judge that there was insufficient evidence to convict Alfred and insufficient proof the Coastal GasLink snowshoers were obstructed.  

Coastal GasLink's lawyer agreed the "company would not proceed further."

Alfred then rose from his seat and left the courtroom.

RCMP officers massed on a remote road in Northern B.C. before arrests at a Unist'ot'en barricade. One man still faces a charge of assaulting a police officer with a weapon. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

Bueckert charged with assaulting police officer 

One additional person is still facing court proceedings over the Unist'ot'en conflict with Coastal GasLink.

The B.C. Prosecution Service confirms Anton William Bueckert is charged with one count of assaulting a police officer with a weapon near the Unist'ot'en camp on Jan. 8.  He appeared Monday in provincial court in Houston and is scheduled to return July 8 to consult a lawyer.