#CP, #CN; #MohawkProtests; #CoastalGasLinkPipeline; #ShareRailLines
Ottawa, Feb 25 (Canadian-Media): Canada's two largest railways, CN and Canadian Pacific (CP), have been quietly sharing their rail lines with a workaround to bypass the Tyendinaga blockade site since last week to transport essential supplies to communities in need, in wake of a growing economic threat, media reports said.
Tyendinaga blockade site. Image credit: Wikipedia
Passenger and freight train traffic on CN's line near Belleville, Ontario had been blocked for more than two weeks by the Mohawks of Tyendinaga in solidarity with anti-pipeline protests in northern B.C against the construction of the planned Coastal GasLink pipeline.
10 demonstrators were arrested by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers on Monday to get service back up and running on the line.
CN and CP rail companies were approached by Transport Canada and Transport Minister Marc Garneau's office and helped to negotiate the rail-sharing deal.
This enabled CN trains to bypass blockades and use alternate routes, some through the U.S. to continue essential deliveries of goods such as propane, chemicals for water treatment facilities and animal feed to Quebec and Maritime communities facing shortages.
The deal was kept secret by all involved as the government sources feared more blockades could pop up in response.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hinted at the CN/CP arrangement yesterday on the way into question period in the House of Commons.
"Over the past number of days we've been working with rail carriers to ensure that many trains continue to use alternate routes to get through and that's one of the reasons we've been able to avoid some of the most serious shortages," said Trudeau.
This arrangement was commended by Karl Littler, senior vice president, public affairs, of the Retail Council of Canada when he learned about it from CBC News.
"We're talking about foods, we're talking about fuel to keep people heating in what can be a cold winter," said Littler. "You're talking about a lot of stuff that Canadians need everyday. I think it's the responsible thing to look to see what alternative channels exist and if that means collaboration in these circumstances, so much the better."
CN spokesperson Jonathan Abecassis in a statement said that the network is being closely monitored for any further disruptions.