Leftist Pipeline Protests Shuts Down Canadian Rail Networks

Daniel Fowler
February 15, 2020

CN Rail says that means stopping all transcontinental trains across its Canadian network and it may lead to temporary layoffs for eastern Canadian staff.

Metrolinx, GO and UP Express trains are still running as scheduled.

Numerous blockades are being led by Indigenous groups, including one near Belleville, Ont., which is the major cause of CN's railway network closure.

Pallister also said he will ask fellow premiers for a conference call to reiterate a demand that the federal government simplify the approval process for resource projects.

And while frustrations remain high for many who are anxious about the impact on upcoming travel plans, many Canadians are standing in solidarity with the First Nations land protectors who have created the blockades and subsequent cancellations.

"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 in a news release.

"We also are, obviously, a country of laws".

Garneau, who was meeting his provincial and territorial counterparts, as well as representatives of national Indigenous organizations, stressed that he hopes there will be peaceful resolutions to the blockade disputes.

Trudeau said his government was completely seized with the issue, but said it was up to police on the ground to decide how to enforce the law.

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"Hundreds of our members have been out of work close to week". All travel between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal is cancelled. That route has been down for days, unbeknownst to them.

Groups including Grain Growers of Canada, Forest Products Association of Canada and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters have said rail delays caused by the blockades are hurting their members and the economy. But the "very serious threat" extends past Alberta's borders, said Kenney, and affects farmers in Saskatchewan and manufacturing businesses in Ontario.

As of Friday morning, all of the remaining trips for the day from London, Ont.to Toronto were sold out, and most trips on Saturday were also booked full.

As rail blockades continue across Canada as a part of Indigenous rights and anti-pipeline demonstrations, the Trudeau government is encouraged by signs of progress as the opposition Conservatives lash out at protesters.

"I just thought, 'Where do I start?"

In Manitoba, protesters dismantled a blockade on an east-west CN Rail line near Winnipeg due to a court injunction but insisted that there would be more action to come.

Scheer said he respected the rights of Indigenous protestors and believed reconciliation was important, but he argued numerous activists were not connected to Indigenous communities, but were using the issue to target energy projects.

However, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted the province an injunction on Thursday afternoon authorizing police to arrest and remove anyone blocking entrances at the legislature.

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