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Trudeau: Rail blockades must end

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday the barricades blocking rail service in Canada have to come down now and court injunctions must be obeyed.

Demonstrators have set up blockades in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec in solidarity with opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation in northwestern British Columbia.

Some hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en First Nation oppose the natural gas pipeline through their traditional territory, though it has received approval from elected band councils.

Trudeau said the situation is unacceptable and untenable and every attempt at dialogue has been made over the last two weeks. He noted some people can’t get to work and others have lost their jobs. He said there’s no point making the same overtures to indigenous leaders if they aren’t accepted.

“We can’t have dialogue when only one party is coming to the table,” Trudeau said. “The onus is on them.”

Via Rail, Canada’s passenger train service, said this week it is temporarily laying off 1,000 employees due to the continued halt in service on CN Rail’s tracks in eastern Canada caused by railway blockades protesting a British Columbia pipeline. CN Rail also announced 450 temporary layoffs.

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