Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has cancelled his junket to Barbados to stay in Ottawa to deal with the growing crisis of rail blockades by protesters upset with the Coastal GasLink construction.
Trudeau spent last week in Africa lobbing for Canada to get a seat on the UN Security Council. He was going to Barbados for a two-day gathering of leaders from across the Caribbean Community, or Caricom, but will send Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne instead.
“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,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
“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.”
Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said Trudeau had no choice but to cancel his latest junket.
“Going to Africa/Caribbean in pursuit of UNSC seat was consistent with an established foreign policy goal. But the shutdown of rail across much of Canada due to solidarity protests over Wet’suwet’en is too much of a domestic crisis for PM to be leaving the country,” Bratt tweeted.
Tory leader Andrew 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.”
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
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