CN obtains injunction to end Tyendinaga Mohawk rail demonstration

CN Rail has obtained a court injunction to end a demonstration by members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk territory that's halted rail traffic between Toronto and both Ottawa and Montreal for three days.

Passenger, freight rail trains have been cancelled due to blockade near Belleville, Ont.

Members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory moved a dump truck with a snowplow toward a rail line in a protest Thursday supporting the Wet'suwet'en opponents of a natural gas pipeline in B.C. (Submitted by Oyohserase Maracle)

CN Rail has obtained a court injunction to end a demonstration by members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory that's halted rail traffic between Toronto and both Ottawa and Montreal for three days, according to a copy of the judgment obtained by CBC News. 

The injunction, which does not name any individual, was issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto on Friday.

It forbids any continued interference with the rail line under the threat of arrest, and was served to demonstrators by CN police Saturday afternoon.

Members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory have been protesting along the rail lines that cut along the territory's border near Belleville, Ont. — located between Ottawa and Toronto — in support of the Wet'suwet'en Nation in British Columbia.

The protesters have said they will stop train traffic until the RCMP leave Wet'suwet'en territory, where a recent court injunction ordered protesters to leave and clear the way for work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

RCMP tactical units are currently in the third day of an operation against three camps built to block construction of the $6-billion, 670-kilometre pipeline.

'Monitoring the situation closely'

Photos from the protests in Ontario — which began Thursday evening — show a dump truck parked next to the rails and signs that read "RCMP get out" and "Indianland."

However, the tracks were never actually blocked during the demonstration.

In a statement, CN Rail said "several dozens" of freight and passenger trains had been cancelled since the start of the protest.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and we are evaluating all of our options as we are well aware of the impact this situation, [which] is beyond our control, has on those who depend on rail transportation to move goods and passengers safely and efficiently," said spokesperson Jonathan Abecassis in the statement.

Ontario Provincial Police spokesperson Bill Dickson said the police force is aware that the injunction was served, but referred questions to CN. 

"There is no way I can speculate about potential enforcement," said Dickson. 

Via Rail promises refunds

Via Rail cancelled all trains running between Toronto and Ottawa Saturday, as well as trains between Toronto and Montreal. The cancellations affect trains running in both directions. 

The company had also cancelled 28 trains between Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto on Friday, and is slated to cancel another 10 trains on Sunday despite the court injunction.

"None of the trains on these two routes will operate until the issue is resolved," a statement on Via Rail's website reads. 

Via Rail said it will refund those affected by this service delay. 

The Coastal GasLink pipeline has been approved by the province of British Columbia, and 20 First Nations band councils signed agreements in support of it, including five of the six band councils in the Wet'suwet'en Nation. 

But Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs say those councils are only responsible for the territory within their individual reserves. 

The hereditary chiefs — leaders of the nation's governance system in place before the imposition of the Indian Act — assert authority over 22,000 square kilometres of the nation's traditional territory. 

That area was recognized as unceded by the Supreme Court of Canada in a 1997 decision. 

RCMP have moved in on a Wet'suwet'en protest camp, making arrests, over the past three days.

The Coastal GasLink pipeline is one of the key pieces of a $40-billion LNG export terminal in Kitimat, B.C., which is on Haisla Nation lands, which supports the project.

With files from The Canadian Press