Trudeau skipping Caribbean trip amid rail blockades, protests
TORONTO -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has cancelled a planned trip abroad as protests continue to choke rail travel across the country.
The Prime Minister's Office confirmed Sunday night that Trudeau will remain in Canada on Monday, skipping a two-day trip to Barbados during which he planned to secure support from Caribbean leaders for Canada's bid to land a seat on the United Nations Security Council.
"Following the government’s ongoing efforts to address infrastructure disruptions across the country, the Prime Minister will convene the Incident Response Group tomorrow to discuss steps forward," PMO wrote in a statement Sunday.
"Our priority remains the safety and security of all Canadians and the swift resolution of this issue to restore service across the rail system in accordance with the law."
Trudeau returned to Canada late Friday after spending a week in Ethiopia, Kuwait, Senegal and Germany, where he attended the Munich Security Conference.
He spent the weekend in private meetings in Ottawa, according to his public schedule.
At least some of those meetings touched on the ongoing protests in support of the Wet'suwet'en Nation and opposition within that community to the current proposal for a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller told CTV's Question Period on Sunday that he had talked to Trudeau both before and after his nine-hour meeting with Mohawk First Nation members in Tyendinaga, Ont. on Saturday.
A protest next to a rail line in Tyendinaga, Ont., has resulted in CN Rail halting its freight service in Eastern Canada and Via Rail doing the same for all passenger service across the country.
The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that Canada will be represented in the Caribbean by Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne in Trudeau's stead.