Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller and B.C. Premier John Horgan are working to arrange meetings with Indigenous leaders in an effort to halt blockades of rail lines that have choked Canada’s economy.
Miller wrote a letter to three chiefs in Ontario regarding a protest on Tyendinaga Mohawk traditional territory that has halted freight and passenger traffic between Toronto and Montreal. He offered to meet at a location of their choice on Saturday.
“My request, that I ask you kindly to consider, is to discontinue the protest and barricade of the train tracks as soon as practicable. As you well know, this is a highly volatile situation and the safety of all involved is of the utmost importance to me,” Miller said in the email, a copy of which he posted publicly Thursday morning.
“I hope you will agree to this request and that we can meet in the spirit of peace and co-operation that should guide our relationship.”
Horgan also publicly released a letter Thursday addressed to Simogyet Spookw, who also goes by Norman Stephens, a chief of the Gitxsan Nation in B.C. In the letter, the premier thanked the chief for reaching out to his office to propose a meeting with hereditary chiefs of the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en Nation.
“I confirm our government’s willingness to participate in such a meeting,” Horgan said, adding that his office has urged the federal government to respond as quickly as possible to the proposal.
“I understand that on receipt of this letter and a similar commitment from Canada, the blockade of the CN line will be removed to allow for a period of calm and peaceful dialogue.”
A spokesman for the premier’s office confirmed that Horgan is referring to a blockade set up near New Hazelton, B.C.
Stephens did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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