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Trudeau to meet with Incident Response Group over anti-pipeline protests

Last Updated Feb 17, 2020 at 6:18 am CST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with community leaders during a meeting in Montreal, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be meeting today with the Incident Response Group to work on a plan for dealing with the protests and blockades that have shutdown much of Canada’s rail system.

The group, which includes senior cabinet members, was created in 2018 to handle incidents that have major national implications.

The federal government has faced growing pressure to resolve the escalating dispute over a natural gas pipeline that crosses Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs oppose the pipeline, and are receiving support from First Nations, as well as non-Indigenous protesters across the country, in trying to shut down the multi-billion dollar project.

Trudeau cancelled a planned trip to Barbados today to deal with the growing crisis.

He had been slated to meet with Caribbean leaders to campaign for a temporary seat on the U-N Security Council, but Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne will now represent Canada in Trudeau’s place.

Last week, federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said the government should order the R-C-M-P to end the rail blockades, calling them illegal, unfair, and a serious threat to the economy.

Trudeau, however, responded saying Canada is not a country “where politicians get to tell the police what to do in operational matters.”