People stand near the train tracks on day 8 of the train blockade in Canada
14 February, 2020, 03:27
CN has halted more than 150 freight trains since Thursday evening, when demonstrators set up blockades in British Columbia and Ontario in solidarity with opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation in northwestern British Columbia.
In an email Wednesday, a spokesperson for VIA Rail said all passenger rail service between Prince George and Prince Rupert is cancelled until further notice.
Lametti said he would bring demonstrators' demands to the federal cabinet, even as the government insists the pipeline project and actions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to arrest people blocking its construction fall outside Ottawa's control.
"Passengers are being informed that as of 4pm EST, there will be no more train departures".
All 20 elected band councils along the route have approved the pipeline.
J.J. Ruest, president and chief executive officer at CN, stated, "It's not just passenger trains that are impacted by these blockades, it's all Canadian supply-chains".
Canadian National Railway officials, meanwhile, issued a dire picture of imminent chaos across the country noting it is being forced to consider shutting down sections of its rail network because key stretches of rail line have been cut off due to the blockade.
Local activists and some members of the Canadian media report that the recent police raids against indigenous Canadians - the Wet'suwet'en nation - are illegal, alleging that Canadian authorities have been mistreating members of the indigenous tribes that once inhabited all of Canada's British Columbia. "We are now parking trains across our network, but due to limited available space for such, CN will have no choice but to temporarily discontinue service in key corridors unless the blockades come to an end".
A First Nations railway blockade on CN's northern line in British Columbia is also being blamed as compounding the transportation melee, the company said.
CN's potential shut down comes just days after Garneau issued a Ministerial Order requiring the slowdown of trains with 20 or more cars carrying risky goods following a derailment of a Canadian Pacific Railway train carrying crude oil in Guernsey, Sask. "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".
"Factories and mines will be soon faced with very hard decisions", said CN President and CEO JJ Ruest. The ports of Prince Rupert, Montreal and Halifax were also disrupted.
In Manitoba, Premier Brian Pallister said the Justice Department will seek an injunction to end a rail blockade west of Winnipeg and have it enforced within a few days. The railway transports more than C$250 billion ($188.2 billion) worth of goods annually, according to the company.
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