Wednesday, 26 February, 2020

Sask. premier says rail blockades 'hamstring' Canada's economy

CN passenger, freight trains cancelled between Prince George and Prince Rupert due to 'blockades' Wet'suwet'en supporters briefly block downtown traffic
Ginger Lawrence | 14 February, 2020, 03:26

VIA did not provide information about the number of passengers affected on the Prince George to Prince Rupert line, however another protest in Belleville, Ont. disrupted traffic between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, prompting the cancellation of 223 trains and impacting 34,200 passengers as of 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the VIA Rail statement said.

The company is also stopping all transcontinental trains across its Canadian network.

The company on Thursday stated that the measure was imposed after "an advisory from the infrastructure owner" to stop all operations across the nation, prompting Canada's Via Rail to immediately "cancel its services". "We understand the impact this unfortunate situation has on our passengers and regret the significant inconvenience this is causing to their travel plans", VIA Rail said in the 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. Protesters also begin disruptions at ports in Vancouver and Delta, B.C.

Hundreds of trains have been canceled since the blockades began five days ago. And there has been no avenues, no recourse, there has been no action to end the genocide - which includes not recognizing land rights, which includes sending in the RCMP to remove us from our 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.

The 20 elected band councils along the route of the pipeline have allowed Coastal GasLink permission to follow through with the pipeline.

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

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However, the first vehicle will hit the roads in 2021, with an option of pre-booking. We got to have a taste of it when they showed off their electric van a year ago .

"The damage is already there to the economy".

"At this point, there was a concern whether or not we could carry out our service obligations with (Via)", Jonathan Abecassis said in an interview with the Star Thursday evening.

"Rail lines are in effect the circulatory system of the Canadian economy".

"Intermodal containers carrying perishable goods including food and consumer items, Canadian grain, de-icing fluid at airports, construction materials, propane to Quebec and Atlantic Canada, natural resources creating rural jobs across Canada such as lumber, aluminum, coal and propane; all of these commodities are already impacted and will see their movements even more diminished". The railway says blockades have ended in Manitoba and may come down soon in British Columbia, but the orders of a court in Ontario have yet to be enforced and continue to be ignored.

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

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau touched on the subject in Senegal, saying, "We recognize the important democratic right-and we will always defend it-of peaceful protests".