Court extends CN injunction as rail blockade continues

Demonstrators with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia, Ont.



SARNIA – An injunction against Aboriginal Idle No More protesters blockading a CN spur line at Aamjiwnaang First Nation has been extended.

CN lawyers were in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto Thursday where an initial injunction granted Dec. 21 - the day the blockade began - was extended for an indefinite period, said railway spokesman Jim Feeny.

“It is an illegal blockade,” he said.

A senior CN official was scheduled to meet Friday with Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley and Police Chief Phil Nelson “to see what steps could be taken now to achieve the judge’s instructions, which are essentially to resolve this,” Feeny said.

He added CN was also attempting to meet Friday with Aamjiwnaang Chief Chris Plain and the band council, as well as the protesters at the blockade.

“The goal remains a timely, negotiated end to the blockade so that we can resume service to customers.”
Bradley said city and police officials were expecting to join CN in the meeting with the band council.

“We continue to do what we can to try and find a resolution,” he said.

“We’re more than aware, as we move into the second week, the impacts on industry are starting to build, not only in Sarnia but around the region.”

The spur line is used by “several hundred” rail cars daily and serves a number of industrial customers of CN, including petrochemical companies and plastic recyclers, Feeny said.

“Our customers are getting alarmed. We are hearing about planned shutdowns. We are hearing of potential layoffs.”

Disruption to the propane supply is a particular concern, Feeny said.

In a letter to Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley, Canadian Propane Association president and CEO Jim Facette urged the federal government, mayor and police “take the necessary steps to remove the rail blockade in an orderly and safe manner.”

“Sarnia is a key point of departure for the transportation of propane east into Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada,” the letter states. “The blockade has already begun to affect propane supply and if it continues, the situation will become very problematic to the thousands of Canadians that depend on it to fuel their farms and businesses, as well to heat their homes.”

The interruption will also result in a loss of business revenue and a reduction in business activity for CPA member companies, Facette said.

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