Saskatoon

Moe 'pleasantly pleased' with PM's latest stance on rail blockades

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he is pleased how much of Thursday night's call between the premiers and the Prime Minister on the ongoing Indigenous-led rail blockades was reflected in Justin Trudeau's latest statements on the crisis.

Sask. premier welcomes Justin Trudeau's assertion that 'the barricades need to come down now'

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe spoke with reporters Friday about rail blockades. (Matt Howard/CBC)

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says he is "pleasantly pleased" with the Prime Minister's stance that rail blockades in Canada must end immediately.

Moe spoke to media in Saskatoon this afternoon following Justin Trudeau's latest statements regarding the ongoing rail blockades that have put 1,500 railway workers out of work and disrupted the flow of goods across the country.

The protests in support of the Wet'suwet'en Nation's opposition to a natural gas pipeline in northern B.C. have been going on for more than two weeks.

Trudeau met with key cabinet ministers in Ottawa this morning and spoke at a news conference this afternoon.

"The barricades need to come down now," Trudeau said.

"The injunctions must be obeyed and the law must be upheld."

Watch the full news conference here:

Trudeau's remarks follow a Thursday night call with provincial premiers.

Moe is among some premiers who have previously accused Ottawa of being too slow to act on the illegal blockades.

Today, Moe said he was "thankful" that Trudeau has moved on some of the discussion points the premiers had in their call with him last night.

"The Prime Minister has most certainly strengthened his resolve in addressing what has become a very urgent situation," Moe said.

He said Trudeau "used language today" that barricades must come down, the rule of law must be followed and injunctions must be enforced.

"I think the expectation is now, with the support of the Government of Canada ... that laws are enforced across this nation," Moe said. "In particular when courts have deemed that laws have been broken and have provided an injunction."

Moe said how police enforce those those laws "is at their discretion, and no one should be directing our law enforcement agencies as to how they are going to enforce those laws."

The blockades were affecting the shipments of agri-food products and manufactured goods from Saskatchewan, in addition to potash and timber products, Moe said.

"I spoke with a manufacturer earlier this week that said he had over 30 containers that were stopped between here and the export port that they were destined for," he said.

Moe said Saskatchewan exports about $2 billion a month in product over the rail system, but also relies on trains for imports.

"Virtually all businesses [in Saskatchewan] have some degree of effect indirectly or directly by this interruption," he said.

Moe said the individuals that are involved in the blockades still have "every opportunity" with an invitation from the Prime Minister to engage with the federal government.

"So the offer is there," Moe said. "I commend the Prime Minister for providing the offer and it very much reflects the conversation that we had as premiers with the Prime Minister last evening."

With files from John Paul Tasker