By Jacob Brooks and Mariana Belham
UPDATE: Feb. 13 2020. VIA Rail has cancelled all service nation wide due to an advisory from CN, their infrastructure provider.
Pro-Wet’suwet’en protestors, comprised of Indigenous rights activists and members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, are continuing to block CN and Via Rail tracks in parts of Ontario and Quebec.
These demonstrations come following the proposal for the Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia, which the Wet’suwet’en say infringes on “unceded land.”
The pipeline project had been agreed to by elected Wet’suwet’en representatives, but members of the community have expressed strong opposition.
The protests began in early January, but are getting more media attention after the RCMP began enforcing the injunction against the blockades set up by protestors this week. By Feb. 10, up to 28 had been arrested.
The Wet’suwet’en have provided a timeline of events that can be read HERE.
“While the Tyendinaga Mohawk Council did not prompt any demonstration currently taking place to occur, we take this moment to encourage all Onkwehón:we to use their voices and good minds to bring awareness to matters affecting Indigenous people across all Nations,” reads a statement from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Council. “We wish the Wet’suwet’en people strength in these difficult times and hope all sides involved in this dispute find a peaceful resolution to the issues they are dealing with.”
Mohawk Chief R. Donald Maracle chose not to comment any further than the official statement.
The protests have disrupted rail services in parts of Ontario and Quebec, and British Columbia.
In a statement put out on Tuesday evening, Feb. 12, Via Rail announced the cancellation of all passenger trains on the Toronto-Ottawa and Toronto-Montreal routes until the end of the day on Thursday, Feb. 13, and will provide another update at this time. Services between Ottawa and Montreal, Montreal and Quebec City, and west of Toronto will continue to operate as planned.
Via Rail also announced that they will be providing automatic refunds for all cancelled trips, although the refunds could take up to 10 days to process due to the volume of transactions. A full list of cancellations can be found HERE.
CN is also being affected by the demonstrations.
Rail service disruptions in British Columbia had caused trains to back up as far as Saskatchewan, according to a statement by CN.
The protests have resulted in numerous delays for goods being transported on the railway, including produce, coal, chlorine, and more.
Please continue to check Skedline.com for updates to this developing story.