PortandTerminal.com, February 13, 2020
Canada’s Via Rail cancels trains nationwide, CN Rail shuts down Eastern Canadian network as Indigenous protests continue
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – CBC Canada is reporting that CN Rail and Via Rail are shutting down huge sections of their railway networks as Indigenous blockades continue to cripple the country’s transportation systems.
“Via Rail has no other option but to cancel its services, effective immediately and until further notice,” the rail operator said in a statement on its website.
CN Rail, the country’s largest railway, is “initiating a progressive and orderly shutdown of its Eastern Canadian network” because Tyendinaga Mohawk protesters near Belleville, Ont. have so far refused to dismantle their blockade.
A prolonged shutdown could have devastating consequences for the country’s economy. CN moves more than $250 billion a year in goods across its transcontinental network.
The rail blockades cut off crude-by-rail shipments on the CN network to three Eastern refineries that account for about a third of the country’s refining capacity.
The shutdown also threatens the transport of food and consumer items, grain, de-icing fluid for airports, construction materials, propane supplies for Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and natural resources like lumber, aluminum and coal, the railway said.
Protests by the Wet’suwet’en Nation
The Wetʼsuwetʼen are a First Nations people who live in British Columbia on Canada’s west coast. They oppose the construction of a gas pipeline through their traditional territory in northern British Columbia. The $US 5 -billion, 400-mile pipeline is intended to carry gas from northeastern B.C. to a massive LNG export plant being built near Kitimat. The nation’s hereditary chiefs have repeatedly said they do not want a pipeline.
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