Wet'suwet'en supporters briefly block downtown traffic

Marco Green
February 13, 2020

The hereditary chiefs, who held ultimate Indigenous authority over the Wet'suwet'en traditional territory before the Indian Act of 1876 set out a framework for bands and elections, argue that they hold title over a 22,000-square-kilometre area that includes part of the proposed pipeline route.

Via Rail says its passenger rail service between Montreal and Toronto and between Ottawa and Toronto is cancelled on Tuesday, marking the sixth consecutive day of service disruption since protesters began blocking a rail line near Belleville, Ont.

Pourbaix described the GasLink protesters as representing a "vanishingly-small percentage of the Canadian population".

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.

On its website, the company said none of its trains will operate until a blockade at a level rail crossing in Tyendinaga Township is resolved.

"The impact is also being felt beyond Canada's borders and is harming the country's reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner", CN said in a statement.

"I can only surmise that a number of those trains will have Saskatchewan potash on them ... so the impact will be there", he said.

The blockade had also halted crude-by-rail shipments to New Brunswick, where the Irving Oil Corp. refinery, Canada's biggest, is located.

Canadian Pacific did not comment on whether any transportation of goods was disrupted. While shoppers won't have seen the effects of the blockades yet, he says, that may change if the blockades persist.

"What I think we're fighting for is for Indigenous rights and Indigenous laws - and indeed national, global law - to be upheld, for the Wet'suwet'en people to govern and have sovereignty over their territory", Campbell said. "It's kind of in, out and sell". "It's having an important impact on the economy of the country".

At the time, economists estimated the strike - which lasted a little over a week - cost the Canadian economy about $1 billion. He argues that companies may be less inclined to ship by rail if they can't be sure their goods are going to get to their destination.

"It creates a lot of uncertainty as to whether there is reliability", he said. "We're talking about impact on business imports, consumer goods, items for export, perishable food items, Canadian natural resources and manufactured goods, Canadian grain, the chemicals that are used to de-ice planes or in water treatment plants in various communities, propane for communities in Quebec and Atlantic Canada". "We are also a country with a rule of law, and we need to make sure those laws are respected".

"Our provincial liaison team continues to talk with participants in an effort to resolve the situation in a safe and peaceful manner", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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