Trudeau calls for immediate end to rail blockades in Canada

(180710) — RIGA, July 10, 2018 (Xinhua) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a joint press conference with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis (not seen in picture) in Riga, Latvia, on July 10, 2018. Trudeau pledged sustained commitment to Latvia’s security during his visit to Riga on Tuesday, saying that Canada would extend its leadership of the NATO battalion stationed in the Baltic country for four more years. (Xinhua/Janis)

Ottawa, Feb 22 (IANS) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for an immediate end to rail blockades against a gas pipeline project in the country.

Speaking to the media here on Friday, Trudeau said that his government engaged directly with Indigenous leaders and provincial premiers in the hope of finding a “peaceful and lasting resolution” to the crisis, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Here’s the reality. Every attempt at dialogue has been made,” he said. “The injunctions must be obeyed, and the law must be upheld. Canadians who are feeling the very real impact of these blockades are running out of patience.”

“We are waiting for Indigenous leadership to show that it also understands the onus is on them. We will be there to discuss but the barricades must come down,” added the Prime Minister.

Canadian cargo and passenger rail operators have suspended all railway service after Indigenous protesters blocked access to railway lines in support of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation, whose hereditary chiefs oppose the controversial Coastal GasLink pipeline project on their ancestral land in British Columbia province.

The Wet’suwet’en First Nation protesters have been blocking road access to a construction site for the pipeline, a key part of a multi-billion liquefied natural gas export project in the province.

A growing number of local business leaders and industry groups have been calling for government or police intervention in the shutdowns.

The blockades have put 1,500 railway workers temporarily out of a job and disrupted the transport of food, farm products, consumer goods and essential items like chlorine for water and propane for home heating, local media reported.

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