Moe and Trudeau

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Source: Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly and Wiki Commons)

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has convened a conference call with his fellow provincial leaders Wednesday after what he calls a “failure in leadership” from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over rail blockades.

Moe cited ‘lack of federal leadership in addressing this ongoing illegal activity’ for the reason for the conference call.

“We are now approaching two weeks of these illegal blockades, impacting the economic interests of all Canadian provinces. (Tuesday) the Prime Minister spoke in the House of Commons, but offered no course of action to protect the economic interests of our nation,” Moe tweeted Tuesday night.

Speaking of earlier CN layoffs Moe continued: “450 Canadians have now lost their jobs because of the illegal rail blockades and the federal government’s inaction.

“Canada’s premiers have the opportunity to provide leadership in calling for concrete federal action to protect the interests of our provinces. Federal action must be taken to respect the rule of law.”

Earlier Tuesday, Trudeau held a meeting with top federal political opposition leaders over the rail blockades across the country – but didn’t invite the leader of the Official Opposition

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Elizabeth May, the Green Party’s parliamentary leader, met with Trudeau in his office Tuesday to discuss the government’s response to the ongoing blockades over the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Earlier in the House of Commons, Tory leader Andrew Scheer blasted Trudeau for his handling of the crisis.

Scheer called it the “weakest response to a national crisis” in Canadian history.

Scheer said it is time for the prime minister to act and bring the situation to an end.

“Nobody, and I mean nobody, has the right to hold our economy hostage.”

Those comments were enough for Trudeau to ban Scheer from his meeting with the opposition leaders.

Trudeau said: “Mr. Scheer disqualified himself from construction discussion with his unacceptable speech today.”

Later in the day the two always went head to head in question period.

Earlier in the day, Trudeau said Canadians will have to remain patient as the government tries to solve the crisis with dialouge.

“Patience may be in short supply and that makes it more valuable than ever,” he said.

“Our government has been working on a path forward even as many have said we should give up.”

On Thursday, CN Rail announced it was closing down operations in eastern Canada while Via Rail shuttered its entire network because of a Mohawk rail blockade near Brockville, Ont.

At that time, Scheer said enough is enough and it’s time for Trudeau to call in the RCMP to clear the blockades.

“Quite frankly, this is getting ridiculous. Radical activists, many of whom have no connection to theWet’suwet’en people, are holding our economy hostage. Meanwhile our prime minister has been out of the country on a vanity project to win a vote at the UN, neglecting his duties here at home,” Scheer said, referencing Trudeau’s jaunt to Africa.

“Do the right thing, Prime Minister Trudeau. We can’t allow a small number of activists to hold our economy hostage and threaten thousands of jobs. I believe it’s time for the law to be enforced. Law enforcement should enforce the law. We have court orders, court injunctions, they need to be respected.”

• What the Western Standard says

The protests have been growing across Canada since last Thursday when the RCMP raided and tore down an Indigenous camp near Smithers.

Thursday, the protesters at the main camp released a new video of RCMP action at the site.

The pipeline has the support of all First Nations along the route, but hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en Nation, through which 28% of the 670-km route passes, oppose it.

A group of unelected hereditary chiefs had set up a camp near Smithers and have kicked out Coastal GasLink workers.

The RCMP said they have found traps like felled trees and three stacks of tires along with flammables along the access road.

On Jan. 7, 2019, RCMP arrested 14 protesters along the B.C. logging road. 

International attention was drawn to the issue when a British newspaper reported RCMP were ready to shoot protesters when they broke up the camp. The RCMP denied the story.

On Dec. 31, the B.C. Supreme Court granted CGL an injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation from blocking the pipeline route near Smithers, B.C.

But the situation has been further complicated after a Jan. 3 edict by the Unist’ot’en, a smaller group within the First Nation, that they intend to terminate an agreement that had granted the company access to the land.

The RCMP checkpoint had been set up at the 27-km mark of the forest service road “to mitigate safety concerns related to the hazardous items of fallen trees and tire piles with incendiary fluids along the roadway.”

The $6.6 billion pipeline, to be operated by TC Energy Corp, would transport gas from near Dawson Creek in northeast B.C. to Kitimat on the coast and supply Canada’s largest liquefied natural gas export terminal, called LNG Canada, which is under construction.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

Twitter: @Nobby7694

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News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief

Dave Naylor is News Editor & Calgary Bureau Chief of the Western Standard based in the Calgary Headquarters. He served as City Editor of the Calgary Sun & covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years.

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