Saskatchewan

Ag producers, Sask. Premier worried about impact of rail blockades

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan says it is worried that ongoing rail blockades will hurt farmers, while Premier Scott Moe says the blockades are "hamstringing" the Canadian economy.

People should support Coastal GasLink project because of the product it is carrying: Scott Moe

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe acknowledges people in Canada have a right to protest and express their opinion, but he says they don't have the right to break the law. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

The Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) says it is worried that ongoing rail blockades will hurt farmers.

Protesters have set up blockades in B.C, Ontario and Manitoba to show their support for those opposed to the Coastal GasLink natural pipeline in northwestern B.C. 

Ian Boxall, vice-president of APAS, says the blockades are affecting almost every commodity.

He says there are dozens of ships in ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert waiting to be loaded.

CN Rail has said it may have to close some of its rail lines if the blockades continue much longer.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said in order for the province to continue to grow its economy it needs access to rail lines. 

"When it comes to blocking our rail lines, really what you are trying to do is hamstring the Canadian economy and the jobs that we have across this nation," Moe said. 
 
He said everyone should be in favour of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, which will carry liquid natural gas, because of the product it's carrying. 

Moe said if people are serious about driving down Canada's emission numbers, they would support the project because it brings clean liquid natural gas to places like China and India, where it can be utilized and will make a "real impact" on those countries emission reductions.

He said there may be some internal disputes to sort out between the Wet'suwet'en leadership and its hereditary leadership, because the entire community isn't opposed to the project. 

"There's some internal governance issues there," Moe said. "The fact of the matter is, it gives no one the right to protest illegally. We have a right in this nation to protest and to voice our opinion. We do not have a right to break the law."

NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the protesters are expressing concerns about what is happening in B.C., but also with the relationship between Indigenous people, the government and the police.

"I think it's a bit over simplified if Mr. Moe just wants to say that those are those are bad people doing bad things. We need to understand that people are frustrated," Meili said.

He said the issue needs to be dealt with by national leaders.

With files from The Canadian Press and Adam Hunter