VIA Rail cancels service across Canada

VIA Rail cancels service across Canada

"Rail sabotage works as both a tactic and a strategy, and so we're calling for ongoing rail disruptions in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en people who are now defending their unceded territory from industry and police invasion", the website states and gives tips to saboteurs to not leave DNA evidence or fingerprints.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said Friday it's time the prime minister directed the RCMP to enforce the law.

"It seems pretty simple to me".

But at the end of the day, the rule of law must be enforced. "We can't allow a small number of activists to hold our economy hostage and threaten thousands of jobs", Scheer said.

Via Rail said more than 220 trains have been cancelled, affecting at least 34,200 passengers.

CN Rail says they will be forced to shut down significant parts of its Canadian network "imminently" unless the blockades on its rail lines are removed. Those passengers who have train trips booked with VIA Rail are also scrambling to confirm refunds, a process VIA Rail believes could take up to 15 days in some cases.

"The impact is also being felt beyond Canada's borders and is harming the country's reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner", the company said.

If the rule of law is not enforced, said Scheer, the Liberals will be "setting a risky precedent that a small few can have a devastating impact on the lives of countless Canadians". Law enforcement should enforce the law.

"We have also engaged with customers, industry associations as well as officials in Ottawa and across Canada to explain to them the consequences and material impact that shutting down the railroad will have on their constituents", he said.

"With over 400 trains canceled during the last week and new protests that emerged at strategic locations on our mainline, we have decided that a progressive shutdown of our Eastern Canadian operations is the responsible approach to take", Chief Executive Officer JJ Ruest said in a statement.

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He said for now that schedule remained unchanged.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault has said it is up to Trudeau to solve the problem.

Railway shippers called on the prime minister to "act decisively" to prevent a complete shutdown of Canada's rail system.

"He is missing an opportunity to show leadership".

Scheer said numerous protestors were out of touch with First Nation's communities. Members of the Wet'suwet'en community would be "heavily involved" in construction programs as the project progresses, Coastal GasLink said.

Many of them say that forcibly removing indigenous people from their lands is out of step with Canada's stated goal of improving relations with First Nations.

The protests against the pipeline have turned into a flashpoint for indigenous rights demonstrators.

In Manitoba, protesters dismantled a blockade on an east-west Canadian National Railway line but insisted that there would be more action to come.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he is working with the railways and his Ontario counterpart Caroline Mulroney to find a solution, and that the blockage of tracks is "dangerous and illegal".

He said it was important for Indigenous groups to be heard and said police had to proceed in the way they best saw fit.

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