After standing aside during 17 days of fruitless truce talks, police Monday took down an Ontario railway blockade that Eastern Canadian native rights crusaders erected to support western tribal protest against the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline project.
The Ontario Provincial Police enforced a court injunction against a Mohawk barricade on the Canadian National Railway (CN) mainline at Belleville, 270 kilometers (162 miles) southwest of Ottawa. A confrontation ended in arrests of 10 protesters.
CN prepared to resume running trains with a track safety inspection. The blockade crippled freight and passenger service across Eastern Canada, causing 1,500 railway worker layoffs and interrupting industry and retail supply chains.
The police only stopped the most disruptive protest against construction of TC Energy Corp.’s C$6.6 billion ($5-billion) supply pipeline for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project underway on the northern Pacific coast of British Columbia (BC) at Kitimat, LNG Canada.
Environmental activists teamed up with native rights crusaders for a march by an estimated 500 protesters past Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the national capital. Quebec demonstrators slowed down traffic on roads and a bridge in the Montreal region.
On the west coast, Coastal GasLink construction is on schedule after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police enforced an injunction earlier this month against interference by the national protest leaders who are heads of the Unist’ot’en or Dark House clan in the Wet’suwet’en tribe.
The next steps for Coastal GasLink and Dark House are to respond to a request to both by the BC Environmental Assessment Office for filings about the project’s effects on a native lifestyle temple that the clan calls its Healing Centre.
On the Canadian national political scene the spat over the pipeline has escalated into a revival of generations-old power struggles by avowed hereditary traditional native headmen against elected chiefs and councils created by the 19th century Indian Act. In BC the Dark House clan dissents from cooperation and benefits agreements that the pipeline sponsors made with the elected leadership of all 20 tribes along its route including the Wet’suwet’en.