Freight traffic in eastern Canada has already been halted after campaigners blockaded a mainline in Ontario in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people trying to stop construction of a gas pipeline in the Pacific province of British Columbia.
The move comes as a group of around 20 environment activists blocked Wednesday a Canadian National Railway Co rail line near Edmonton, the capital of the western province of Alberta.
Canada’s main opposition party says the federal Liberal government should send in police to clear the blockades. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has refrained from using force to end the crisis so far, toughened his language on Wednesday.
“This government is working extremely hard to resolve this situation. We know people are facing shortages, they’re facing disruptions, they’re facing layoffs - that’s unacceptable,” he told reporters in Ottawa before the VIA Rail announcement.
The protesters expressed support with the Wet’suwet’en Indigenous people in their campaign against the C$6.6 billion (US$4.98 billion) Coastal GasLink project and their right to veto projects on their territory, a stance rejected by a Canadian court earlier this month.
On Feb. 26-27, the Resource Council of Canada regrouping 130 First Nations will discuss in Calgary about energy projects on Indigenous lands and the level of participation they would be willing to put in.