Local Chamber of Commerce urges swift end to anti-pipeline blockades

File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / Maximkostenko

The latest to demand an end to anti-pipeline blockades is the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber said in a release that, “the Windsor-Essex region, known for its ‘just in time’ manufacturing, will be significantly impacted if this issue is prolonged.”

The blockades, in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline project on their territory in northern B.C., have brought train traffic across Canada to a standstill.

The company building the pipeline has the support of 20 band councils in the unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. However, the hereditary chiefs who are opposed said they were not properly consulted about the natural gas line.

The RCMP has offered to withdraw its presence on the territory to de-escalate tensions, and premiers expressed their concerns during a conference call with the prime minister Thursday night.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, Carolyn Bennett, offered to meet with the hereditary chiefs. On Friday, the chiefs travelled to Belleville to thank protesters who have blocked the rail line there.

BlackburnNews.com file photo of the Via Rail train station in Windsor. (Photo by Jason Viau)

BlackburnNews.com file photo of the Via Rail train station in Windsor. (Photo by Jason Viau)

Since the blockades started two weeks ago, VIA Rail announced the layoff of 1,000 workers, while CN Rail gave 450 employees in Eastern Canada pink slips.

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters CEO Dennis Darby said approximately $425 million in goods are stranded each day the blockades drag on. He suggested other layoffs could come as companies struggle to get products delivered.

“If this situation is not resolved quickly, a disruption in the supply chain is inevitable,” continued the Chamber’s release.

In the House of Commons, Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer announced plans to table a no-confidence motion against the government, only to back away after the NDP and Bloc Quebecois said they would not support it.

The local Chamber urges the federal government to find an amicable solution, saying, “We urge both sides to resolve the matter to mitigate the impact on our nation’s economy.”