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Rail News: Canadian Pacific

CP's Creel calls on Trudeau to hold talks with Wet'suwet'en

CP President and CEO Keith Creel
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Canadian Pacific President and Chief Executive Officer Keith Creel last week called on Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to hold talks with the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs to bring to an end to the protest blockades that have affected the nation's freight- and passenger-rail networks.

In a Feb. 20 letter to Trudeau, Creel said the company's rail system has been "severely impacted" by the ongoing blockades, which have created "critical safety and security concerns."

CP supports the Wet'suwet'en in its request for dialogue with Trudeau. Last week, a protest near Chase, British Columbia, blockaded the Class I's western corridor.

"This blockade severs our rail access connecting the Port of Vancouver, Canada's largest port, with the North American supply chain and the Canadian economy," Creel wrote.

Over the past two weeks, CP's rail network has been blocked by protesters at the Kahnawá:ke Mohawk territory, south of Montreal. That blockade severed rail connections into Atlantic Canada and the United States, he noted.

Creel said he supported the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's efforts to move their officers from the area where the Wet'suwet'en Hereditary Chiefs have been opposing a pipeline on their traditional territory.

"The time for rhetoric has long since passed. Resolution requires action now," Creel wrote.

Protestors have set up the blockades across the country in a show of solidarity for the Wet'suwet'en Nation, whose hereditary chiefs oppose the construction of a natural gas pipeline through northern British Columbia.

The protests have prompted CN to temporarily close a part of its network and lay off hundreds of people. VIA Rail Canada also has had to shut down some service and temporarily lay off about 1,000 workers.

CN obtained court injunctions to clear some blockades, but police have so far refrained from using force to uphold them, reported.

Trudeau has called on the protestors to end the blockades. Attempts at engagement have not been constructive, he said, according to the BBC.