Tuesday 18 February 2020

Canada: How the rail blockades are hurting the economy

Recently, CN Rail and Via Rail have started suspending services across Canada. This is following days of rail blockades over the Coastal GasLink pipeline slated to run through northern B.C. The feds are willing to sit down with Indigenous leaders, but it seems that there's a catch. Nationwide rail blockades are hurting Canada's economy, as protests over the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. show no signs of slowing down. Hopefully, this issue can be resolved fast. Unfortunately, the blockades are stopping the flow of important supplies.

If rail blockades continue, it is possible that there will be more factory shutdowns and more layoffs. CN already recently announced 450 temporary layoffs as disruptions cause $425M worth of goods to sit idle every day.

Protesters can be seen standing and sitting on train tracks during the blockade of the rail line leading to Macmillan Yard in Toronto on Saturday. The protest is in solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs opposed to the LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia.

The rail blockades have slowed down Canada's manufacturing industry. If this situation continues, the industry will start seeing more plant closures and temporary layoffs. In British Columbia, some Indigenous protestors and helpers have shut down a key rail line in Northern B.C. because they oppose the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on the grounds that it would run through the hereditary land of the Wet'suwet'en people.

Over 1,000 protesters have marched in downtown Toronto in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs.

Wetʼsuwetʼen are a First Nations people who live on the Bulkley River and around Burns Lake, Broman Lake, and Francois Lake in the northwestern Central Interior of British Columbia. The name they call themselves, Wetʼsuwetʼen, means "People of the Wa Dzun Kwuh River (Bulkley River)".

The Wetʼsuwetʼen are a branch of the Dakelh or Carrier people, and in combination with the Babine people have been referred to as the Western Carrier. They speak Witsuwitʼen, a dialect of the Babine-Witsuwitʼen language which, like its sister language Carrier, is a member of the Athabaskan family.

Their oral history is actually called kungax.

The traditional government of the Wetʼsuwetʼen comprises 13 hereditary chiefs, organized today as the Office of the Hereditary Chiefs of the Wetʼsuwetʼen.

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