Published: Fri, February 14, 2020
Markets | By Otis Pena

Why are indigenous groups protesting a Canada gas pipeline?

Why are indigenous groups protesting a Canada gas pipeline?

The flashpoint was police arrests that started last week in northern British Columbia of protesters who oppose the pipeline's construction on traditional land of the Wet'suwet'en indigenous people.

February 11 - CN stops transport between Prince George, B.C., and Prince Rupert, B.C., because of a blockade near Hazelton, B.C. The company says it has halted more than 150 freight trains since blockades started on February 6.

Mohawk Warrior flags on display as First Nations and anti-pipeline protestors at a rail crossing at Wyman Rd., south of Old Highway 2, east of Belleville, Ont. on Tuesday February 11, 2020.

The C$6.6-billion ($4.98 billion) Coastal GasLink is set to run through British Columbia, bringing natural gas to the coast where a Royal Dutch Shell-led group is building a liquified natural gas export terminal.

Canadian National Railway Co.is shutting down its rail network in Eastern Canada until protesters abandon blockades at several locations in support of opponents of a pipeline in British Columbia.

Olin Corp., a Missouri-based chemical maker with a facility near Trois-Rivieres, Que., cautioned Ottawa that its tight distribution schedule means the 50-odd Canadian companies it serves will soon stop receiving chlorine - used in part to treat drinking water - which it says is only shipped by rail.

One of the three recipients, Tyendinaga Mohawk Chief Donald Maracle, said he expects the meeting will take place but he can't comment on Mr. Miller's request to end the blockade because the protest wasn't initiated by its council.

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J.J. Ruest, president and chief executive officer at CN, stated, "It's not just passenger trains that are impacted by these blockades, it's all Canadian supply-chains".

"CN will have no choice but to temporarily discontinue service in key corridors unless the blockades come to an end", he said in a statement Tuesday. Hundreds of trains have been cancelled, the company said, including freight and passenger trains.

"Factories and mines will soon be faced with very hard decisions. We're talking about impact on business imports, consumer goods, items for export, perishable food items, Canadian natural resources and manufactured goods, Canadian grain, the chemicals that are used to de-ice planes or in water treatment plants in various communities, propane for communities in Quebec and Atlantic Canada".

"Obviously we hope it's going to be resolved, but it is up to the provinces to make those injunctions effective by taking action", Garneau told reporters in Calgary. "The Ports of Montreal and Halifax are also already feeling the impact of these blockades which will have a trickle down effect on consumer goods in the next few weeks", said Ruest.

February 12 - The Manitoba government says it may seek a court injunction to end a blockade on a rail line west of Winnipeg, but CN obtains its own court order.

"We have also engaged with customers, industry associations as well as officials in Ottawa and across Canada to explain to them the consequences and material impact that shutting down the railroad will have on their constituents".

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