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Blockades shut down rail services in Canada

Blockades shut down rail services in Canada

Blockades shut down rail services in Canada. CN Rail shut down Eastern Canada operations and VIA Rail halted passenger service across the country in Canada in the face of Indigenous protests over a natural gas pipeline. Those protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country. So far 470 trains were canceled and 94 thousand train passengers are affected by the closure of train services across Canada due to protest by Indigenous people. Indigenous people are claiming their land rights in the protest. The Federal Government led by Prime Minister Justice Trudeau is under mounting pressure to find a solution to protests and he must act quickly to end the massive shut down of rail services. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who came back to Canada after a tour in foreign countries said “His government is committed to finding a quick and peaceful resolution to the anti-pipeline blockades that have shut down swaths of the country’s train system and temporarily blocked bridges and highways.”

The closed-door meeting of PM with his cabinet followed a week of growing pressure on the Federal Liberal government to end the blockades as soon as possible, which started earlier in this month of February in response to the planned construction of a $6.6-billion natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia called Coastal GasLink. Speaking briefly to reporters after stepping out of the building across from Parliament Hill that houses the Prime Minister’s Office, Trudeau said he had reached out to a number of premiers and Indigenous leaders to discuss the standoff.  On the other hand, Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said last week that Trudeau should tell Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to use his authority under the RCMP Act to end what he called the “illegal blockades.” But Trudeau shot back, arguing that Canada is not a country “where politicians get to tell the police what to do in operational matters.” Quebec Premier Francois Legault, Manitoba premier Brian Pallister and Ontario premier Doug Ford urged the federal Government to find an immediate solution to the massive blockades of rail service in Canada. CN Rail’s entire network east of Toronto was affected and may result in temporary layoffs of its workers. Teamsters Canada, the union which represents over 16,000 workers in the rail industry, said roughly 6,000 layoffs could come from this shut down of rail services in Canada. The massive shut down of rail services in Canada are affecting the economy deeply, it is affecting thousands of passengers, it is affecting Country’s reputation and rail service’s reputation and it is also causing lay off of rail workers, so the federal Government must take necessary steps as soon as possible to end the shut down of rail services across Canada.

Source: CBC news

Former professor, writer and advisor to CBNA

Montreal, Canada, 18th February 2020

 

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