‘We are losing control’: Quebec premier warns shortages imminent if blockades continue

Click to play video: 'Rail blockades cause emergency debate in the House of Commons'
Rail blockades cause emergency debate in the House of Commons
WATCH: The House of Commons will be holding an emergency debate Tuesday as pipeline protests continue across the country. Morganne Campbell has the latest – Feb 18, 2020

Quebec Premier François Legault’s patience is running thin as he warns the province will face a shortage of goods as soon as Wednesday if the blockades on Canada’s rail lines don’t come to an end.

“This has to be lifted,” he told reporters at the provincial legislature. “It’s worse every day.”

The ongoing protests in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs in British Columbia have also led to a growing pile of containers and a lack of space at the Port of Montreal, he added.

Legault is also calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene as the demonstrations continue to disrupt service on commuter and freight railways across the country.

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While Trudeau said on Tuesday it is “past time” for a peaceful resolution to end the blockades, Legault argues there needs to be immediate action if he doesn’t want the province to face a crisis.

“We are losing control,” he said. “I don’t want to be back in the middle of a propane crisis with the farmers. I don’t want to find myself to not have planes taking off because we no longer have fuel.”

Legault’s comments come as a group of business leaders also urged for action to restore service. Dennis Darby, the CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, said at a press conference in Toronto that $425 million of goods are being help up every day.

“This issue is beyond serious,” said Darby. “It’s critical.”

Click to play video: '‘Clear conditions needed to deescalate’ rail blockades: Miller'
‘Clear conditions needed to deescalate’ rail blockades: Miller

The nationwide protests began nearly two weeks ago in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs against the proposed Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is slated to run through the nation’s unceded territory in northwestern British Columbia.

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Since the RCMP arrested anti-pipeline demonstrators following a B.C. Supreme Court injunction that required workers be given unobstructed access to the worksite, the blockades started popping up across Canada.

The grand chief for the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake spoke about the blockades alongside other chiefs who called for constructive dialogue on Tuesday.

Serge Simon, who had already suggested dismantling the barricades to allow for negotiations, is asking for calm.

“We cannot lose the good faith that we have built over the past 10 years with the Canadian public,” he said.

— With files from Global News’ Raquel Fletcher, Amanda Connolly and the Canadian Press

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