Indigenous demonstrations stall rail traffic

Solidarity protest. Bryan Bicknell / CTV London March 4.

Protests by indigenous nations over the illegal use of their land have caused significant delays across Ontario railway transport from the weekend of February 28th to the first week of March.

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs of northern British Columbia oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline expansion in their sovereign territory and solidarity demonstrations have been taking place across the country.

Protestors obstructed Go Train railway lines on February 28th to draw attention to the national dispute over indigenous land rights and sovereignty violations by the Canadian government.

Delays were compounded by the death of a Go Train customer at the Port Credit Go station on March 2nd, and signal disruptions caused by severe weather on March 3rd. 

Service disruptions were reported on Monday at 11am, with the delayed service lasting until 2:40 pm, and again on Tuesday morning, this time lasting up to an hour.

Disruptions across Canadian rail transportation networks have been frequent, with the most significant impacts on Via rail and commercial freight vehicles in western Canada. 

Via Rail was forced to pause all operations Tuesday in eastern Ontario due to blockades near tracks. Metrolinx spokesperson, Matt Llewellyn, said there was a problem on “freight partner tracks just west of Aldershot GO station.”

Canadians should expect more protests if the federal government continues with plans to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, despite the opposition of some Indigenous communities.

Railway transit passengers and commuters were not happy and expressed their displeasure via Twitter.