Prime Minister Trudeau says rail blockades need to come down

The barricades must come down.

Those are the words uttered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday afternoon when speaking to the media in Ottawa regarding rail blockades in the country.

In his statement, Trudeau said the barricades are paralyzing key infrastructure across the country which hurts all Canadians.

He added that the federal government has exhausted every possibility for dialogue, engagement and to finding ways to peaceful solutions for the protests. But now they are waiting on Indigenous leadership, RCMP and provincial police forces to understand the onus is on them in order to continue conversations.

“Discussions have not been productive. We can’t have dialogue when only one party is coming to the table. For this reason, we have no choice but to make the same overtures,” shared the prime minister.

“Of course, we will never close the door on dialogue and our hand remains extended should someone want to reach for it.”

Trudeau explained that the government remains open to starting those conversations. Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett were on the phone with a Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief before he spoke to the media.

However Trudeau said it’s time for injunctions to be followed and that the law needs to be upheld.

He suggested that Canadians and the federal government have been patient, but after two weeks of rail blockades and transportation barricades, this situation has become unacceptable and untenable.

“There is a relationship to be renewed and new relationships to be built. Canada is ready for this; Canadians want this,” said Trudeau. “But hurting Canadian families from coast to coast coast does nothing to advance the cause of reconciliation.

Friday’s media conference comes after Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with Canada’s premiers during a teleconference call on Thursday evening.

Moe responds to Trudeau’s comments

Moments after Prime Minister Trudeau addressed the rail blockades across the country, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe spoke to media in Saskatoon about his reaction to Trudeau’s speech.

Moe started by saying that, as an exporting province, Saskatchewan exports over $2 billion of product via rail.

The Premier added that he is satisfied with the action that Trudeau has taken in ordering the blockades to come down.

“The Prime Minister has most certainly strengthened his resolve in addressing what is becoming a very urgent situation,” said Moe. “Canadians have been very patient through the course of the last couple of weeks.”

Moe stressed that now that injunctions have been laid out, the process of restoring rail transit will be sped up.

“In this nation, in Canada, and our provinces, we have the right to protest. We do not have the right to break the law,” said Moe. “We have said this since day one.”

According to Moe, many of Prime Minister Trudeau’s comments were in line with the conference call held Thursday night between Trudeau and the country’s Premiers.

While they are currently no blockades in the province, Moe says Saskatchewan has felt the impact of blockades elsewhere in the country, prohibiting the movement of potash, oil, grains, and other commodities.

“Where the Prime Minister indicated the Government of Canada is today, we have been there for some time in the province of Saskatchewan,” said Moe. “We commend the national leadership that the Prime Minister showed and spoke to today.”

(With files from Moises Canales and Josh Sigurdson)

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