BREAKING: Police prepare to remove anti-pipeline protestors from blocking train tracks
Police are preparing to clear the CN Rail train tracks in Belleville, Ontario, of demonstrators who managed to halt all train travel between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, according to CBC News.
On Tuesday, police officers warned those who had gathered at the tracks that they should leave or face arrest if they did not leave. It is unclear how many protestors will actually leave willingly.
Via Rail announced this morning that CN has notified them that partial routes between Quebec City, Montreal, and Ottawa will be back up and running as early as Thursday, Feb. 20.
Only trains that serve full trips between Quebec City and Ottawa will resume service. This comes after the better part of two weeks of being shut down as a result of protests in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people who are against the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Trains 22, 24, 26, 28 leaving from Ottawa will be resuming as well as trains 33, 35, 37, and 39 leaving from Quebec City.
All other train services remain cancelled until further notice with the exception of Sudbury–White River (CP Rail) and Churchill–The Pas (Hudson Bay Railway).
The Minister of Indigneous, Marc Miller met with blockade protestors Saturday in Belleville in hopes to negotiate a swift and peaceful resolution. The meeting took place in a nearby community centre and lasted over eight hours, although the minister wasn’t able to give the press many details about what was discussed in said meeting.
As the anti-pipeline protests continue to shut down crucial parts of Canada’s infrastructure, the CostalGas Link pipeline and there is much confusion when it comes to the Wet’suwet’en people’s stance on it.
The Premier of BC John Horgan told the CBC that it’s a fight within the nation between the equal actors of hereditary chiefs, who defend the land, and the band chiefs, who want to see their people become financially secure.
A recent Facebook post that has been shared almost 5,000 times in its first day talks about the personal relationship that Terri Tilijoe has had with the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wet’suwe’ten people.
Terri is caucasian although she is a member of the Westbank First Nation and has been since she was 16, through her marriage with Larry Tilijoe, who is Unistoten. She believes that the vast majority of Wet’suwet’en people are in favour of the pipeline, estimating it’s about 85 percent.
The post began with Tiljoe stating, “I see all these posts supporting a few OW Hereditary Chiefs but what I don’t see is the Wetsuweten people speaking up about how this office operates. I get it though, I live on Westbank First Nation, I see exactly how opportunities are disbursed based on whether you are ‘one of them’ or ‘one of us’.”
Tiljoe described her experience with the OW Chiefs and how “In 1993, we started a silviculture business, Nadina Mountain Contracting, located within the Morice Forest District. Our goal was to become a sustainable First Nation contractor who harvested, replanted and rejuvenated the areas we harvested.”
“The OW, situated an hour east of Houston, took over ALL the forest related activities earmarked as First Nations. We were forced to work under the OW for contracts within our own forests; the OW took a portion of the contract value for the ‘service’. The OW’s lack of knowledge in forest health and neglect in their financial responsibilities continually caused our business to suffer hardship which rippled to our banker, our employees, and our suppliers.”
“I personally question the integrity of some of the chiefs, and I wonder if it’s the same case with CGL; that the OW wants to control ALL the negotiations, ALL the monies, ALL the contracts and ALL benefits and administer it back to the Bands in the territory? As it stands the individual bands will receive the monies and benefits and not the OW. If the OW can’t have it ALL then NO one will have anything.”
The protests continue while the Trudeau government continues to dither twelve days in, while various road and rail blockades cripples the transport of goods and people.
Anti-pipeline protestors took to the streets in both downtown Toronto and Ottawa this afternoon, bringing traffic to a halt. In Toronto, the major artery of Bloor Street was blocked. While in Ottawa, protestors stopped traffic in Byward Market.
Protests and blockades opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline have entered their 12th day, bringing traffic and the nation’s economy to a standstill.
The scene in Toronto is intense, with thousands marching.
“Obviously we’re a country of the rule of law and we need to make sure that those laws are followed,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said about the protests on Monday. “We are going to continue to focus on resolving this situation quickly and peacefully.”
Nationwide protests that claim to be in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en have exploded after RCMP arrested pipeline protestors on Wet’suwet’en territory. Protests have already effectively shut down VIA Rail and CN Rail and at least two US border crossings.
The Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council supports the pipeline project.
The Thousand Islands Bridge, which had been closed down due to a blockade from people protesting the Coastal GasLink pipeline, has been reopened. The bridge is located in Gananoque near Kingston Ont.
The bridge allows access to US from Canada however both ways had previously been restricted due to the protests. The traffic restrictions were lifted as of 3 p.m. Monday.
Many commuters were stuck at the border for such as Dan Vance who told Global News he was halted for 45 minutes on his back from the U.S. The 59-year-old was in Canada customs paying taxes when he was delayed.
“Hopefully, it’s no more than an hour or two but right here, this time of year, right around the Thousand Islands nothing is opened because it’s wintertime,” Vance said.
“I’m hoping there’s no emergency where an ambulance or a firetruck has to get through.”
Vance said there were about 30 cars backed up behind him as well as many who just turned around and drove back into the U.S.
The railway blockages and protests have been happening for the last three weeks in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the pipeline.
The elected Indigenous councils have already signed an agreement with Coastal GasLink to approve the route however some hereditary chiefs oppose it and claim to have rights over the unceded land.
Niagra Falls, Ont. and Niagra Falls, N.Y. also had a group of protestors shut down the border crossing however they left on Sunday of their own accord.
There are other protests currently happening throughout the country.