Federal politicians debated a solution to ongoing rail blockades and demonstrations today in the house of commons in Ottawa.
Minister of Indigenous Services Carolyn Bennett said she was waiting on word from the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation as to whether proposed talks would proceed.
“So that, as you know, some are in the east, some are in the west, they, they’re together, Chief Woos only arrived Monday morning at 3:30 a.m.,” Bennett told reporters.
“They organized two days of meetings and we hope that this afternoon, we will be able to hear back from them.”
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh accused the prime minister of dragging his feet.
“Indigenous leaders, business leaders, have all asked that this prime minister meet with the hereditary chiefs. For some reason the prime minister doesn’t get it. Now this whole crisis could have been avoided if over a month ago the prime minister just met with the hereditary chiefs when they asked for it,” he said during question period.
“A few days ago when I had the opportunity to talk with the leaders of the opposition about this situation, the member opposite brought up that exact question and I explained that there are many voices within the Wet’suwet’en community,” responded Justin Trudeau.
“Some hereditary chiefs, some elected chiefs, some leaders within the community as well and the work that they need to do, without outside interference to determine their path forward would be interfered with, with a prime minister sitting down with one group too quickly. I am of course open to engaging constructively but in the right way.”
Public Safety minister Bill Bair also called for the Tyendinaga rail demonstration to cease.
“I would again continue to urge people to take the barricades down, to obey the law, and encourage the dialogue that we know is so important to continue.”
Blair was responding to new developments in Tyendinaga. Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) moved in to enforce an injunction there on Monday.
Trains were moving through on Wednesday. In response, people there lit fires beside the tracks and stood briefly in the path of the oncoming trains.
The demonstrations across the country showed no signs of abating.