RCMP began enforcing an injunction last week that prevents interference with construction of a $6.6-billion natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia.
Here is a timeline of the dispute, along with rail disruptions by people showing solidarity with the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs opposing the Coastal GasLink project:
Dec. 31, 2019 — The B.C. Supreme Court grants Coastal GasLink an injunction calling for the removal of any obstructions including cabins and gates on any roads, bridges or work sites the company has been authorized to use.
Jan. 1, 2020 — The Wet’suwet’en First Nation serves Coastal GasLink with an eviction notice, telling the company workers are “currently trespassing” on their unceded territory.
Jan. 27 — The British Columbia government appoints former New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen as a provincial liaison with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in the LNG pipeline dispute.
Jan. 30 — The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en agree to seven days of meetings with the province.
Feb. 5 — The talks that were intended to de-escalate the dispute fail after just two days.
Feb. 6 — Protesters in Belleville, Ont., east of Toronto, start holding up railway traffic.
Feb. 7 — Via Rail halts service along one of its busiest routes because of the Belleville blockade. All travel between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal is cancelled. Canadian National Railway obtains a court injunction to end a demonstration by members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville. Protesters also begin disruptions at ports in Vancouver and Delta, B.C.
Feb. 8 — Protesters in Toronto disrupt Canadian Pacific Railway traffic moving through the downtown.
Feb. 9 — Kahnawake Mohawk community members south of Montreal erect a blockade on a CP rail line.
Feb. 10 — Demonstrators in the Montreal area disrupt commuter train service on the Exo Candiac line. A shuttle bus service is in effect for affected rail stations.
Feb. 11 — CN stops transport between Prince George, B.C., and Prince Rupert, B.C., because of a blockade near Hazelton, B.C. The company says it has halted more than 150 freight trains since blockades started on Feb. 6.
Feb. 12 — The Manitoba government says it may seek a court injunction to end a blockade on a rail line west of Winnipeg, but CN obtains its own court order. The RCMP also formally end enforcement operations in a region of northern B.C. that’s at the centre of the pipeline dispute. Two hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs start a constitutional challenge of fossil fuel projects, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls for demonstrators across the country to observe the rule of law.
Feb. 13 — CN shuts down its operations in Eastern Canada. 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.
Feb. 14 — A rail blockade that halted train traffic to and from the Port of Prince Rupert is lifted as First Nations leaders agree to meet with federal and provincial politicians. A date for that sit-down is to be arranged. CN spokesman Jonathan Abecassis says the blockade was removed overnight.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14 2020
The Canadian Press