VIA Rail cancelling all trips across Canada amid pipeline protests

Daniel Fowler
February 14, 2020

One of the largest protests is the blockade of rail lines near Belleville that has been going on for more than a week, and disrupting VIA rail service. He also said that the network disruption could impact the transportation of a wide range of commodities, including food and consumer items, Canadian grain, propane to Quebec and Atlantic Canada and natural resources.

In an email Wednesday, a spokesperson for VIA Rail said all passenger rail service between Prince George and Prince Rupert is cancelled until further notice. Via Rail vowed in the statement to provide full reimbursement to all passengers for all canceled trips due to the ongoing protest.

"You do not need to contact VIA Rail to confirm the refund, but note that due to the volume of transactions it may take up to 15 days to receive", says VIA Rail.

"We understand the impact this unfortunate situation has on our passengers and regret the significant inconvenience this is causing to their travel", Via Rail said in a statement.

"With over 400 trains cancelled during the last week and new protests that emerged at strategic locations on our mainline, we have decided that a progressive shutdown of our Eastern Canadian operations is the responsible approach to take for the safety of our employees and the protesters", said JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer at CN.

Facing sit-ins at their offices in Toronto and Ottawa, Liberal ministers Carolyn Bennett and David Lametti separately spoke with demonstrators about their demands in support of Indigenous leaders in northern B.C. who oppose construction of the already-approved Coastal GasLink pipeline.

CN's potential shut down comes just days after Garneau issued a Ministerial Order requiring the slowdown of trains with 20 or more cars carrying risky goods following a derailment of a Canadian Pacific Railway train carrying crude oil in Guernsey, Sask.

"Second of all, genocide is pretty inconvenient for Indigenous peoples. What else do you expect us to do to try to get some attention?" The protests are being held to show support for those of the Wet'suwet'en Nation who do not want the pipeline to be built on their land. This area covers some 22,000 square kilometers (8,000 miles) in the northern interior of BC, and has never ceded its territory, an assertion reaffirmed in a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision and recognized hereditary chiefs - the title passed down from generation to generation.

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Factories and mines will be soon faced with very hard decisions.

"The damage is already there to the economy".

"We ship massive amounts of pulp to the United States and to places like Asia, so big negative impacts there", Neuheimer said in a phone interview.

"The federal government needs to act, not only in meeting with these individuals of the Wet'suwet'en nation, but also by ensuring that the law of our nation is enforced and enforced very quickly".

"This is having far-reaching impacts on businesses of all sizes in all parts of the country", told CTV's Your Morning on Thursday. The blocked rail line is owned by Canadian National Railway (CN).

The Montreal-based railway said Monday that long-distance freight shipments in Central and Eastern Canada were already at a virtual standstill.

"The global investors looking at Canada are asking the question ... do they not have a rule of law?" he said.

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