Justin Trudeau says the rail blockades across Canada must come down
On Friday afternoon, Canada announced that it will take action against the Wet'suwet'en rail blockades and enforce injunctions against anti-pipeline protestors.
Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Justin Trudeau called the railroad blockades "unacceptable and untenable."
Members of the Incident Response Group have been focused on restoring rail service, keeping Canadians safe from the coronavirus, and helping families affected by the tragic event in Iran. We met this morning to talk about next steps. Get the details here: https://t.co/bQGNZKhCpE— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) February 21, 2020
He said, "Canadians have been patient, and our government has been patient. But it has been two weeks and the barricades need to come down now."
Trudeau says his government has tried to convince those on the barricades to move to a new step, and it would be lamentable if there was violence at the barricades when they are taken down, but they can’t continue to watch Canadians suffer as a result of the rail shut down.— Rachel Aiello (@rachaiello) February 21, 2020
Trudeau conveyed his frustration over the situation, saying, "I expressed our desire to work in partnership with all parties concerned. That was four days ago."
He added that the government has met Wet'suwet'en demands, including the RCMP leaving Indigenous territory. Since Indigenous chiefs have still refused to cooperate, Trudeau believes that the "onus is shifted onto Indigenous leadership."
PM Trudeau: "The barricades must now come down. The injunctions must be obeyed. The law must be upheld." PMJT goes on to say the gov't is committed to reconciliation "but hurting Canadian families from coast to coast to coast does nothing to advance the cause of reconciliation." pic.twitter.com/yrYzABzxyg— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) February 21, 2020
Trudeau acknowledged the significant job loss that the blockades have caused, saying that he "cannot continue to watch Canadians suffer."
Although Trudeau expects provincial police to enforce injunctions, he ruled out involving the army, saying, "You do not use the army against Canadian civilians."
Quite a stunning presser from @JustinTrudeau. Basically an admission that his strategy of engagement and trust has failed. Now he’s repeating what Scheer and others have said: take down barricades. But like those he critiqued for saying that, he has no details how. #cdnpoli— Evan Solomon (@EvanLSolomon) February 21, 2020
Notably, the Prime Minister also differentiated between two types of protests: a protest that is truly "grounded in historic marginalization" and a protest that merely "uses Indigenous protests to call out a particular project with which they disagree."
Trudeau believes that the railroad blockades are the latter.
The Prime Minister could not confirm when railways will be fully operational again.
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