Last year a natural gas pipeline project that would take NG to tidewater in northern British Columbia was approved to proceed after the developer met with and negotiated the approval of all elected Band Councils and other stakeholders along the route.
Before work could fully proceed, the Hereditary Chiefs of one First Nation's Band took it upon themselves to blockade the road that provided access to the pipeline route where it crossed disputed land. The Hereditary Chiefs, some of whom are members of the elected councils that agreed with the developer, claim the agreement only applies to the reserve lands where the bands reside. They admit no agreement for work to proceed on the land they claim as historically theirs.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have cleared the blockades and removed the protestors. At the same time a number of groups across Canada have set up camps and disrupted highways, Government buildings and railways in support of the BC Hereditary Chiefs. All of the blockades are illegal and even First Nation leaders have urged the protestors to cease and desist.
While law enforcement at these sites is actually a provincial responsibility, though the RCMP are often contracted to the Province in rural areas. Pressure is building on Canada's Prime Minister to "stop the blockades", the matter has even become a topic for the Federal Opposition Party's Leadership race where one candidate is proclaiming he will end them immediately (and presumably prevent any in the future) upon achieving power.
The protests have shut down rail transport in eastern Canada and are slowly strangling the Canadian economy. They need to end. Those who are protesting and their supporters would do well to consider that unnecessarily drastic and destructive action will not build support for their cause, whether that cause is to stop a pipeline or to use access to its construction as a lever to settle a land dispute.