A major railroad blockade is being planned by members of the Warrior Society, of Sipekne’katik First Nation (Indian Brook).
James Pictou spoke with Global News and says the action plan is in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en nation and their fight to keep a pipeline from being built through their territory.
“We want to show that we are strong,” Pictou said in his community of Sipekne’katik First Nation.
Pictou says the blockade is also part of an overarching theme that aims to highlight the need for government and police to respect and honour the rights of the Indigenous people and their unceded territories.
While disrupting the railway is part of their action plan, Pictou says the ultimate goal is to evict the RCMP from their community.
“The objective is to remove RCMP off our territory lands,” he said.
“We have an RCMP building up here and we’re taking measures of executing eviction on the RCMP of Indian Brook.”
Pictou says he’s ‘given notice’ to both the RCMP and Via Rail and that the railway is preparing for the disruption that will likely begin Friday afternoon.
He says the goal is to keep the blockade going for around 72 hours.
Meanwhile, Halifax RCMP say they’re monitoring developing solidarity situations and that they’re prepared to respond as they arise.
“People have the right to associate and to protest peacefully; that’s everyone’s right under the Charter,” said Cpl. Jennifer Clarke with Halifax RCMP.
“I can’t get into what we’re actually seeing but I can tell you that we’re monitoring the situation across the province and we are prepared to manage whatever situation we encounter.”
The Halifax Port Authority is also preparing to respond to possible cargo disruptions.
According to a recent economic impact study, port operations are worth about $2 billion in economic impact for the region, ranging from jobs to shipping and rail.
“We’re working very, very closely with the terminal operators and CN Rail, just to make sure we understand what the latest is,” said Lane Farguson with the port authority.
“At this point, in Halifax, we haven’t lost any sailing calls and trains are still leaving Halifax,” he said in an interview Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday just before 6 p.m. AT, Via Rail announced all its train services in Canada will be cancelled as CN announced a shutdown of its eastern Canada network over blockades.
Farguson says about 60 per cent of the cargo that comes through Halifax is loaded directly onto rail.