Trudeau to speak with premiers on blockades as Wet’suwet’en solidarity protests continue

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will call Canadian premiers to update them on the work the government says is underway to reach an end to blockades in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation that have shut down railroads across the country for more than two weeks.

A spokesperson for the prime minister told Global News that Trudeau will call the premiers at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday to discuss the situation.

“From Day 1 the prime minister and ministers have been directly engaging with provincial governments to resolve this complex situation,” said Cameron Ahmad, director of communications for the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Today the prime minister will again engage with premiers in a call with the Council of the Federation. We’re working hard to reach a peaceful and lasting resolution.”

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It has now been 15 days since individuals set up a blockade on a major rail line in Ontario, forcing Via Rail to shut down passenger service and CN Rail to shut down its own operations. Both have since laid off more than 1,000 total employees as a result.

Those behind the blockades say they are acting in solidarity with some of the hereditary chiefs of B.C.’s Wet’suwet’en First Nation who are opposed to the Coastal GasLink natural gas line project.

Four of those hereditary chiefs and a representative for a fifth are expected to meet with the individuals blockading that and other sections of the rail line shortly.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller said on Thursday he is hopeful that meeting will lead to a solution.

“These are opportunities to come to a peaceful resolution,” Miller told reporters in Ottawa when asked about reports that four of the hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink project in B.C. and one representative for a fifth chief will meet with those blockading the railway on Thursday or Friday.

“I think this will give us an increased opportunity to have those discussions so we can de-escalate.”

Neither Miller nor Indigenous-Crown Services Minister Carolyn Bennett have yet been invited but said they would make themselves available if asked.

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