Freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest are among the most cherished of rights … according to the federal transport minister.
But Marc Garneau says he’s concerned about the disruption of rail services.
He’s meeting in Toronto with provincial and territorial counterparts and representatives of national Indigenous groups about the rail blockades over a natural gas pipeline in B.C.
”We’re hoping we’re going to be able to resolve this situation peacefully as quickly as possible,” says Garneau.
In Ottawa, Opposition leader Andrew Scheer it’s time for the prime minister to order the RCMP to end the blockades.
”We have ideologically motivated protesters and activists who have, in many cases, no connection at all with the First Nations community,” Scheer points out.
”These protesters, these activists may have the luxury of spending days at a time at a blockade, but they need to check their privilege. They need to check their privilege and let people whose job depends on the railway system and small business, farmers, do their jobs,” the Conservative leader adds.
Scheer’s calling on Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to use his authority under the RCMP Act to put an end to the protests.
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he does not tell the Mounties or any police service what to do.
Meanwhile, a handful of protesters remain at a blockade near Belleville.
An injunction was granted several days ago to remove them but OPP are only keeping watch over them from a distance.
A spokesperson for provincial police says exercising discretion should not be confused with lack of enforcement.