Here is the latest news on protests across Canada over a natural gas pipeline project in British Columbia:
Via Rail says it is temporarily laying off 1,000 employees due to blockades that continue to stop service on CN tracks in Eastern Canada.
The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto routes for about two weeks in the wake of protests that have disrupted rail service across the country.
Via says it commends ongoing dialogue efforts between government and demonstrators at rail blockades in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline in British Columbia.
Via says it is proceeding with temporary suspensions of the unionized employees “with sincere regret.”
The company, which has resumed service in some parts of Ontario, has cancelled more than 530 trains since blockades began on Feb. 6.
A Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief says the chiefs won’t meet with the federal government over their opposition to a natural gas pipeline until both the RCMP and company leave their traditional territory.
Na’moks, who also goes by John Ridsdale, says the chiefs have communicated their terms to Carolyn Bennett, the minister responsible for Crown-Indigenous relations.
Bennett has sought to meet with the chiefs as the federal government faces mounting pressure to take action against protesters and demonstrators whose blockades have halted roads and rail lines.
Na’moks says four clan chiefs who are the highest leaders under the First Nation’s traditional form of governance are travelling to Mohawk territory today to thank members of that First Nation for their solidarity.
But he also says that if the chief’s conditions are met, any meeting with the federal government would have to take place on the Wet’suwet’en territory, which means it wouldn’t likely occur until next week at the earliest.
Na’moks says he’s not concerned that the chiefs might miss a window of opportunity for dialogue with the federal government.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2020
The Canadian Press