Government Condemns Attack on Coastal GasLink Pipeline Work Camp

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) — The Canadian government on Friday condemned an attack on a Coastal GasLink pipeline work camp in northern British Columbia, in which police said assailants brandishing axes threatened workers and damaged equipment.

Coastal GasLink pipeline construction. (photo: TC Energy)

Coastal GasLink, a subsidiary of Calgary-based TC Energy, is building the 670-km (420-mile) pipeline to the west coast of British Columbia to supply the planned LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project.

It has faced demonstrations and opposition from environmentalists and some First Nations.

The attack comes amid heightened tensions across Canada, as police in the capital Ottawa started arresting protesters involved in a three-week trucker-led blockade that had prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to assume emergency powers.

"This is truly disturbing," federal Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said on Twitter, referring to the Coastal GasLink attack. "Violence and illegal acts are not the way forward on any matter."

Coastal GasLink said on Thursday approximately 20 masked attackers wearing camouflage surrounded a work site off a forest service road and attacked workers early in the morning. They wielded axes, fired flare guns and tried to set one vehicle on fire while workers were inside, the company said in a statement.

The workers fled and the attackers vandalized heavy equipment and construction trailers, causing millions of dollars’ worth of damage, the company added.

Police found the forest service road blocked with downed trees, wire and boards with spikes, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement.

As police made their way along the road to the camp, several people threw smoke bombs and sticks, injuring one officer, the RCMP said. No workers were hurt.

Neither Coastal GasLink nor police said whether they believe the alleged attack is linked to opposition to the pipeline.

"This was a calculated and organized violent attack that left its victims shaken and a multimillion-dollar path of destruction," RCMP Chief Superintendent Warren Brown said in a statement.


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