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Monday, February 6, 2023

Rail blockade: Trudeau cancels visit to Caribbean, emergency meeting Monday to resolve crisis

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not attend the Caribbean Community Heads of Government (CARICOM) Conference in Barbados this week, having decided to stay in the country to try to find a solution to the railway dam crisis which has disrupted the transport of passengers and goods for several days.

In a statement sent to the media in the early evening on Sunday, his office indicated that Canada will be represented at CARICOM by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francois-Philippe Champagne.

Mr. Trudeau was originally scheduled to be there Monday and Tuesday. He was to take advantage of this meeting to promote Canada’s candidacy for a seat on the United Nations Security Council in 2021-2022.

In the wake of this change of plan, in order to find a solution to the “ongoing disruptions affecting infrastructure across the country, the Prime Minister will meet tomorrow [Monday] the Incident Response Group to discuss the next steps Said the office of Mr. Trudeau.

On Twitter, the Prime Minister added that he has invited some of his ministers, Marc Miller, Carolyn Bennett, Marc Garneau, Bill Blair, Chrystia Freeland, Pablo Rodriguez, and Bill Morneau, to this meeting of the Case Response Group incident.

Rail transportation is disrupted in several regions of the country due to demonstrations by members of indigenous communities who have been blocking railways for several days, notably in Tyendinaga, east of Belleville, Ontario, in Kahnawake, near from Montreal, as well as Listuguj, in Gaspesie.

The protesters want to force the end of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northern British Columbia. They support the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation who oppose the pipeline project.

To resolve the crisis, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller spent the day on Saturday negotiating and speaking with the Tyendinaga Mohawks “to achieve a peaceful resolution of the situation,” said the bureau. minister Sunday evening.

“Minister Bennett has had several conversations with Hereditary Chiefs Wet’suwet’en over the past few days,” he said in the message from the Prime Minister’s Office. She committed to meeting them at a time convenient to them, in accordance with the Prime Minister’s commitment. Minister Garneau met with his provincial and territorial counterparts late last week. He closely monitors the effects of the current blockages on the rail network and maintains constant communication with CN, CP and Via Rail.”

“We remain in close contact with other levels of government and our partners,” said Mr. Trudeau’s office. “Our priority remains the safety and security of all Canadians and the prompt resolution of the situation in order to restore service to the entire rail network, in accordance with the law.”

Ottawa doesn’t want another OKA

The federal government does not believe that police action to dismantle Aboriginal roadblocks that hinder railways. Canada economy is a good approach.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller explained on Sunday that police interventions in Oka in 1990 and Ipperwash, Ontario in 1995, both of which ended with the death of one person, must be used warning.

“We have the experience of Oka 30 years ago when the police intervened and a person died [a policeman]. My question to Canadians, to myself and to my fellow politicians, whatever the party, is it that we do the same old things and we repeat the mistakes of the past or do we take time to do this well? ” he told The Globe and Mail on Sunday.

The Montreal minister believes that the resolution of this crisis which paralyzes part of the Canadian economy will require dialogue.

“These are peaceful people who want a peaceful resolution,” he told the Global network on Sunday. And we cannot have a peaceful resolution without dialogue.”

Indigenous protesters are blocking railways near Belleville, Ontario, Winnipeg, Kahnawake, near Montreal, as well as in the Gaspe Peninsula. These protesters want to force the end of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project in northern British Columbia. They support the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in British Columbia who oppose the pipeline project.

Canadian National has obtained a court injunction to end the blockade at Belleville, which prevents the transportation of passengers and freight in this important rail corridor. The OPP has spoken to protesters in the past few days but has not enforced the injunction. Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called for police action and criticized Aboriginal protesters. Minister Miller, however, praised the police’s conciliatory approach.

“For those who want an intervention, I tell them to learn from history,” he told the Globe. Each of these crises begins with injunctions. What I hear from indigenous communities when we talk about the rule of law is that for them, the rule of law has been invoked over and over again to perpetuate what they consider to be historical injustices.”

Marc Miller met with members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk community near Belleville on Saturday. Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett is scheduled to meet with First Nations leaders in British Columbia on Monday.


The Canadian National said Sunday by email to the QMI Agency that about 450 of its employees were affected by notices of temporary layoffs due to the paralysis of its railways, particularly near Belleville. About 1,000 workers could temporarily lose their jobs if the crisis persists, CN warned.


The dam of the CN railway track by the Tyendinaga Mohawk community, east of Belleville, Ontario, which greatly affects the transport of passengers and goods, continued for 11th day, Sunday.

Other demonstrations of the same kind, that of the Mohawks of Kahnawake which disrupts the commuter train service on the Candiac line of Exo, and that of Listuguj, in Gaspesie, started a few days ago, also continued.

In addition, there were other occasional demonstrations, including one in Saint-Pascal, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, where some 20 people blocked a railroad track for a few hours, as well as others in the Winnipeg sector. , in Manitoba.

In eastern Prince Edward Island, protesters gathered and slowed traffic at the entrance to the Confederation Bridge to show their support for the hereditary chiefs of the Wet ‘First Nation suwet’en from British Columbia.

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