A protester stands between Mohawk Warrior Society flags at a rail blockade on the tenth day of demonstration in Tyendinaga, near Belleville, Ont., Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. The protest is in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce urges for end to rail blockades

Chamber President Keri Pratt urged the MP Blaine Calkins to help bring an end to the disruptions

The Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce is standing with the Canadian Chamber to bring an end to the rail blockade effecting many in Canada.

In a letter to Sylvan Lake’s MP Blaine Calkins, Sylvan Lake Chamber President Keri Pratt urged the MP to help bring an end to the disruptions.

In Pratt’s letter she says the blockade is limiting the movement of perishable foods and items such as grain, construction materials and propane to the eastern provinces.

“We are deeply concerned about the damage to the Canadian economy, the unfair denial of access to transportation services for Canadian citizens, and the undermining of the rule of law,” Pratt said in her letter.

The protests staged by supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have hampered rail progress, of both freight and passenger trains, for more than a week.

Several hereditary chiefs are opposing the planned construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline which would run through Wet’suwet’en territory.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked the Canadian public for patience in dealing with the illegal blockade.

“These illegal blockades, which also affect the movement of natural resources like timber, aluminum, coal and oil, will take an increasing toll if the government does not act decisively to restore order,” Pratt said.

She continued to say Canadian supply chains will be damaged and will extend internationally and “harm our reputation as a stable partner in international trade.”

In his speech at the House of Commons Tuesday, Trudeau said the blockades are a chance to bring perspectives together.

“Because what is the alternative? Do we want to become a country of irreconcilable differences where people talk but refuse to listen, where politicians are ordering police to arrest people, a country where people think they can tamper with rail lines and endanger lives? This is simply unacceptable,” Trudeau said.

On Tuesday, CN Rail announced the layoffs of roughly 450 workers in Eastern Canada as a result of the rail blockade.

The company said more than 400 trains have been cancelled in the past week due to the protests in British Columbia.

The layoffs will affect operational staff, CN Rail says.

“A rail disruption of this magnitude constitutes an emergency for the Canadian economy. On behalf of the 200 businesses represented by the Sylvan Lake Chamber of Commerce, we urge the government to act without further delay,” Pratt said in the letter.

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