Protests Could Impact Rail Movements Throughout Canada
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TIA members are hearing from their shipper and motor carrier customers that service interruptions as a result of protests are having residual effects on the movement of freight throughout Canada. There is a large, organized movement that has created blockades on strategic railway points in response to the Canadians government plan to build a $5 billion Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation near Houston, British Columbia.
Canadian National Railway (CN), the nation’s largest railway network, announced recently the beginning of “a progressive and orderly” shutdown of its lines in eastern Canada after authorities failed to enforce court orders to end “illegal” blockades across Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia.
These protests are also affecting passenger rail as well. The Wall Street Journal reported that, “about 250,000 passengers had already faced cancellations after a massive demonstration blocked VIA Rail’s major line in the Montreal-Toronto-Ottawa triangle.”
President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Hon. Perrin Beatty, wrote in a letter last week addressed to the country’s ministers of transport and innovation, science and industry that:
“The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is deeply concerned about the damage to the Canadian economy, the unfair denial of access to transportation services for Canadian citizens, and the undermining of the rule of law. These illegal blockades, which also affect the movement of natural resources like timber, aluminum, coal and oil, will take an increasing toll if the government does not act decisively to restore order. A rail disruption of this magnitude constitutes an emergency for the Canadian economy.”
TIA will continue to monitor the situation and notify members as the situation progresses.
If you have any questions, contact TIA Advocacy (firstname.lastname@example.org, 703.299.5700).