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Pressure Mounts on Protesters as Canada Seeks End to Rail Woes


By Sandrine Rastello

(Bloomberg) Pressure is mounting on protesters at blockades that have slowed Canada’s rail network as provincial governments indicate they’re ready for the police to get involved.

Ontario police and Canadian National Railway Co. gave Mohawks, who have set up a blockade in Tyendinaga, Ontario, until midnight on Sunday to clear the barricades, according to the state broadcaster. They’ll face a police investigation and charges if they don’t obey, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing a Mohawk source. The blockade is about 130 miles northeast of Toronto.

Environmental and indigenous-rights activists are opposing the construction of TC Energy Corp.’s Coastal GasLink pipeline, a C$6.6 billion project ($5 billion) project in British Columbia. The blockades, which have been set up in several provinces, have shut down rail freight service in eastern Canada and halted most intercity passenger train routes.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday signaled he would be open to police intervention after acknowledging that his government’s efforts to negotiate a solution have failed, little has moved since then. One blockade in Saint-Lambert, Quebec, was cleared late Friday; that one was not located on indigenous territory.

Trudeau, who spoke with premiers from British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec on Sunday, informed them “of measures being taken to ensure that critical needs are addressed across Canada, including propane, chemicals to treat drinking water, and essential agricultural products,” according to a statement from his office.

On Saturday, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair called officials in Ontario and Quebec to discuss “ongoing work to end” the blockades, according to statements from his office. He told Andree Laforest, Quebec’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, that he “appreciated the measured and effective approach taken by the police in Quebec.”



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