Court extends CN injunction as Idle No More rail blockade continues

Paul Morden, Toronto Sun/QMI Agency, Friday, December 28, 2012

Blockade of CN rail line near Sarnia, Ontario.

Blockade of CN rail line near Sarnia, Ontario.

SARNIA, Ont. — An injunction against aboriginal protesters blockading a CN spur line at Aamjiwnaang First Nation has been extended.Members of Aamjiwnaang have been camped out on a CN rail line near Sarnia since Dec. 21 as part of the nationwide Idle No More movement.

CN lawyers were in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto on Thursday, where an initial injunction granted the day the blockade began was extended for an indefinite period, said railway spokespman Jim Feeny, who called the protest “an illegal blockade.”A senior CN official was scheduled to meet Friday with Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley and Police Chief Phil Nelson “to see what steps could be taken now to achieve the judge’s instructions, which are essentially to resolve this.”

CN is also attempting to meet Friday with Aamjiwnaang Chief Chris Plain and the band council, as well as the protesters at the blockade, said Feeny.  “The goal remains a timely, negotiated end to the blockade so that we can resume service to customers,” said Feeny.

The spur line is used by several hundred rail cars daily and serves a number of CN’s industrial customers, including petrochemical companies and plastic recyclers.”Our customers are getting alarmed.  We are hearing about planned shutdowns.  We are hearing of potential layoffs,” he said.

Disruption to the propane supply is a particular concern, Feeny said.  In a letter to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, Canadian Propane Association CEO Jim Facette urged the federal government, mayor’s office and police “take the necessary steps to remove the rail blockade in an orderly and safe manner.”

“Sarnia is a key point of departure for the transportation of propane east into Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada,” the letter states.  “The blockade has already begun to affect propane supply and if it continues, the situation will become very problematic to the thousands of Canadians that depend on it to fuel their farms and businesses, as well to heat their homes.”

Feeny said there are a number of products and feedstocks that normally move in and out on the spur line. “Products move across the entire continent in and out of those plants,” he said.  “We are seeing facilities in other parts of the country are being affected, as well.”

The Idle No More movement was sparked, in part, by Bill C-45, which eliminates federally protected waterways and allows the sale of reserve lands without consultation with First Nations.

Posted on December 28, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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