Montreal

Kahnawake residents weigh in on whether to maintain rail barricade

Residents of the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, south of Montreal, are mulling over whether to maintain a rail blockade that's been up since Feb. 8. Community members attended a meeting at a longhouse Monday evening.

Rail service was briefly disrupted Monday afternoon by separate blockade in Pointe-Saint-Charles

The rail barricade has been up since Feb. 8 in Kahnawake, on Montreal's South Shore. (Diana Gonzalez/Radio-Canada)

Residents of the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, south of Montreal, are mulling over whether to maintain a rail blockade that's been up since Feb. 8.

Community members attended a meeting at a longhouse in Kahnawake Monday evening. Media were not permitted to attend.

"There's a lot of thought and consideration being given to these next steps," Kanen'tó:kon Hemlock, a spokesperson for the longhouse, said Tuesday morning.

"There's no definite deadline, but people do definitely feel that a decision does have to be made soon."

The barricade in support of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs crosses a Canadian Pacific Railway line and has disrupted both freight and commuter service.

A Quebec Superior Court judge issued an injunction against the Kahnawake blockade last week, though authorities have not yet enforced the order.

This flag flew above the blockade which was dismantled by police in Saint-Lambert last month. (Radio-Canada)

The Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs are opposed to a pipeline project that would run through their ancestral territory in northern B.C.

Their opposition sparked protests across the country after RCMP officers arrested several people in Wet'suwet'en territory last month.

Over the weekend, Wet'suwet'en chiefs and representatives of the federal and B.C. governments announced they had reached a draft agreement concerning some of the issues involved in the pipeline dispute. 

The tentative deal reportedly addresses Wet'suwet'en demands for rights and title recognition, but not the pipeline itself.

Kenneth Deer, a Mohawk elder serving as a spokesperson for the activists at the blockade, said they want to speak with Wet'suwet'en chiefs before deciding what to do next.

"It's a big decision to decide to take down the barricade or not, and they want to make sure they have everything before they make that decision," Deer told reporters at the barricade on Sunday.

Protesters stood on CN Rail tracks near Wellington Street in Montreal's Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood, Monday afternoon, before leaving. (Radio-Canada)

Via Rail, Exo service briefly blocked

Monday afternoon, a small group of masked protesters briefly disrupted passenger and commuter rail service in Montreal.

Around 20 protesters stood in the rain for several hours on CN Rail tracks near Wellington Street in Montreal's Pointe-Saint-Charles neighbourhood.

They left after a sizeable police presence assembled nearby. 

Via Rail, which uses the CN tracks, said the protest delayed some departures and arrivals. 

Service was also temporarily delayed — out of safety concerns — on a separate commuter line that connects Mont-Saint-Hilaire to downtown, according to Exo.

Last month, CN applied for and received an injunction to dismantle barricades on its tracks within the province.

Police used this injunction to disperse protesters who had set up a barricade on CN tracks in Saint-Lambert on Feb. 21.

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