(Bloomberg) — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will address lawmakers Tuesday morning as indigenous-rights protests that have brought rail traffic to a halt across Canada drag on.
Blockades in British Columbia, where some hereditary chiefs oppose a new natural gas pipeline by TC Energy Corp., and solidarity protests along the key Montreal-to-Toronto corridor in Ontario forced Canadian National Railway Co. to shut down a large part its network last week.
The crisis has stalled the flow of goods — including oil for export and propane needed for heating — in the sprawling, trade-dependent nation and prompted Via Rail, Canada’s primary intercity passenger service, to cancel nearly all trains.
Trudeau had planned to spend the first part of this week lobbying Caribbean leaders to back his bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. But he was forced to scrap that trip late Sunday and convene an emergency meeting of key ministers in Ottawa on Monday.
His government has prioritized improving relations with First Nations, and is leery of actions that could spark a repeat of violent clashes between the authorities and indigenous communities in the past. Trudeau “stressed the importance of resolving the situation in a peaceful manner, with continued dialog to address underlying issues in the spirit of reconciliation,” according to a statement from his office.
The prime minister will address the crisis in the Ottawa legislature at 11 a.m., his office said.
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