CN Rail ends pipeline protesters' blockade along Manitoba train tracks
WINNIPEG -- The blockade set up by pipeline protestors along the CN and Via Rail tracks near Headingley, Man., on Wednesday has been taken down, less than 24 hours after it began.
In a news conference on Thursday, Premier Brian Pallister said the province expressed willingness to file an injunction, but CN had already filed one, which was then approved. The Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition said more action is coming.
The blockade was held in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en standoff with RCMP over the Coastal GasLink pipeline that would cross the First Nation’s land.
Pallister described the recent events as unfortunate, saying what needs to be addressed is the root cause of the problem. He said he’s been communicating with other premiers about how the process for resource project applications needs to be re-examined.
“We’ve been communicating with the federal government the need for less onerous, less confusing, less frustrating and clearly a less divisive process than the one we have now,” he said.
Pallister noted that people don’t understand or feel heard through the current application process, which needs to balance both environmental and economic impacts.
“Because they’re not separate from each other, they’re interlinked.”
The premier said if people can better understand the resource application process, then hopefully they will be less frustrated and won’t be willing to flaunt or break the law.
He noted one thing that can be done is clarify what the rights are of people, such as hereditary chiefs, to be involved in the consultative process, and clarify when the rights have been satisfied and when they haven’t been.
Fundamentally that needs to be made clear what is satisfactory for consultation and what is not adequate. What is sincere and genuine in consultation and what is window dressing. These can be spelled out.”
Pallister said the premiers have spoken about this issue as recently as December and that Bill C-69 needs to be revisted.
“It’s time to take action,” he said.
- With files from CTV’s Danton Unger and Touria Izri and the Canadian Press' Steve Lambert.