Transport Minister confirms police will be 'moving in' on new blockades
OTTAWA -- Transport Minister Marc Garneau says provincial police will be "moving in" to respond to injunctions against new blockades sprouting up across Canada in solidarity with Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who oppose a planned natural gas pipeline in British Columbia.
Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill on Tuesday, Garneau said some of these new blockades have been "temporarily stopping the trains."
"The provincial police will be moving in and responding to the injunctions that have been put in," Garneau said.
He said he didn't know when the provincial police will be taking action against these new blockades, as that decision is up to provincial police authorities.
This planned police intervention comes just one day after the Ontario Provincial Police moved in against a rail blockade that had been set up by the Tyendinaga Mohawk near Belleville, Ont. and charged 10 protesters.
While the first train ran through the newly-cleared tracks in Tyendinaga Monday night, it remained the only train to pass through the area as of Tuesday afternoon. CN Rail would not comment on why the service has yet to fully resume.
Following the Monday arrests, multiple solidarity protests and blockades emerged across Canada. Among those new protests were a blockade that halted a regional transit service near Hamilton and a rolling blockade set up by the Khanawake Mohawk on Quebec's Honoré Mercier Bridge.
Canadian Pacific Railway also obtained an injunction to stop a blockade in Khanawake, just south of Montreal.
Meanwhile in B.C., protesters continue to blockade the Port of Vancouver and demonstrate at the B.C. Legislature. At least six people have been arrested, according to CTV Vancouver.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said the government has been working towards a "peaceful conclusion" in this dispute.
"Over the last few days there has been some back and forth that has been modestly positive," Miller said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also called for "peaceful resolution" to the issue on Monday.
"We're still on the path to reconciliation, we needed a peaceful resolution and we're continuing to work towards that," Trudeau said.
The government has been under fire from across the political spectrum for its handling of the issue.
Outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer told reporters on Monday that Teck Resources Ltd.'s Sunday announcement of its decision to withdraw its application for an oilsands mine in Alberta was tied to Trudeau's handling of the blockades.
"The fact that he has done literally nothing for 19 days while illegal blockades have brought our economy to its knees sends a very strong signal to proponents in the energy sector that this government will not uphold the rule of law, and that they will be on their own," Scheer said.
Striking a very different tone, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh expressed his concern about the police action during a press conference about pharmacare on Monday.
"I've been really concerned about the idea that police intervention will deescalate this national crisis, because it's won't. It's not the solution," Singh said.
Meanwhile, the Mohawk Council of Khanawake slammed the OPP for its arrest in Tyendinaga.
"The Mohawk Council of Khanawà:ke wishes to express its outrage and disgust regarding the actions taken this morning on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory," the council said in a Monday press release.
"It has become very obvious that use of injunctions and police against Indigenous people who are simply defending their own land from unwanted development will not produce a peaceful resolve."