Rail protesters to demonstrate 'as long as it takes'
Published Wednesday, February 12, 2020 6:32AM EST Last Updated Wednesday, February 12, 2020 5:57PM EST
MONTREAL -- Mohawk demonstrators at the railway blockade in Kahnawake, south of Montreal, say they'll remain there as long as the RCMP is present on Wet'suwet'en territory in northwestern British Columbia.
About a dozen people were at the blockade Wednesday with Mohawk flags, signs of solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en and a pile of snow built up on the tracks, forcing passengers on the line to use shuttle buses instead.
One of the Mohawks taking part notes people have still been able to get to work. Tekarontake said he hoped the protest would end soon, but Canada will have to "come to its senses" for that to happen.
"We'll be here as long as it's necessary," he said. "As long as it takes. I can't tell you tomorrow or at three o clock we're going to shut down. This is not a store. ... Stop the pipeline, it's that simple, stop the pipeline. Canada will not fall apart because there's not a pipeline. It just means some American businessmen won't be able to line their pockets."
Quebec and Ottawa announced later on Wednesday that they will create a “coordination committee” to handle the rail blockades against the Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Provincial Transport Minister Francois Bonnardel and Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez made the announcement in Quebec City on Wednesday, where Bonnardel said the rail blockade can't last much longer with serious economic impacts.
"We had a productive meeting where we agreed to have a high-level committee to coordinate the discussions between Quebec and Ottawa," said Rodriguez, who is the Quebec lieutenant in Ottawa. "That means that we'll be speaking minute by minute, we'll be in touch, we'll inform, we'll collaborate very closely the two governments together."
Meetings will start "right away," said Rodriguez.
"It will be important to rapidly talk with the different people, Indigenous, and the prime minister, the cabinet of the prime minister, on the federal side, on the provincial side, maybe with other provinces to find a solution concerning these blockades that we've seen all around Ontario and Quebec," added Bonnardel.
Bonnardel said he hopes to resolve the matter in the coming days, calling it "an important economic problem."
He underscored, though, that he believes it's still a federal issue.
"It's a federal problem for me, but we talked to the federal, Mr. Rodriguez, he understands the situation. He told us that he will help us and I hope that if other provinces want to join this committee that we will be able to talk together and find a solution.
Federal and provincial governments had butt heads in recent days over whose job it is to enforce any injunctions to remove the protesters.
Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau called the protests unsafe and illegal, saying it is up to the provinces to do something about it.
On the flip side, Quebec Premier François Legault insisted the Canadian government has a responsibility to take control of the situation, but said the provincial government was communicating with the protesters to end the blockades.
THIRD DAY OF CANCELLATIONS ON CANDIAC LINE
Exo cancelled services on its Candiac line Wednesday for a third day due to the presense of protesters.
Commuters have the option of taking buses that will be deployed from the Candiac, Delson, Saint-Constant and Sainte-Catherine stations to bring commuters to the Mansfield terminal.
The journey takes about 25 to 55 minutes, depending on the departure time, the company noted.
Anyone looking for information is asked to call 514-281-2595.
- With files from the Canadian Press