At his visit to Yorkton on Feb. 18, Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe touched on the Wet’suwet’en pipeline protests happening in Canada, which are halting rail traffic. Moe believes that the protests are going to have a major impact on Canada’s economy and international reputation as rail traffic is halted and products aren’t moved.
“We have agri food products that are on trains that are stopped across this nation, we have potash product that has stopped on trains across this nation. I talked with a major manufacturer today that has a number of products that are also stopped on trains across the nation headed for export markets. So the impact on the Saskatchewan economy is there, it’s present today, and it will be there for weeks and months to come even if the trains get up and running.”
Moe said that while he doesn’t have a dollar amount on the economic damage that the protests are doing to the country, he also said it will impact Canada’s reputation, and if products don’t make it to market Canada could gain a reputation as an unreliable business partner and lose opportunities in the future.
He also believes the protests themselves to be misguided.
“I have always said that this is a problem where we are here in this nation where we have a number of special interest groups or protestors that are protesting an LNG line that would export a product to countries like China where they could use that product and have 40-60 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions as opposed to using coal, where they’re protesting this line by stopping our rail service that is servicing our communities both in and out across this nation.”
Moe said that he wanted see more support for the RCMP enforcing the law surrounding the protestors, and said he was disappointed that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not come out in favor of their actions.
“Disappointed by the Prime Minister’s comments today, I saw nothing in his comments that indicate that he is supportive of the RCMP enforcing the law on our nation, which is quite frankly his job, to ensure that the law is enforced in this nation. So I was disappointed by the comments that came from the Prime Minister.”
There will be a Council of the Federation call tomorrow, Feb. 19, with all of the nation’s premiers to discuss the topic of the protests and the operation of the rail lines. Moe will chairing that call as chair of the Council of the Federation.
“This is an urgent time for Canada. It’s a time when we need to ensure that we are respecting the role of the democracy that we have in this nation. And it is a time, quite frankly, for us all to just respect one another.”
With the Council of the Federation call, Moe hopes that the country can gain some leadership, address the protests and get the rail system back on track.
“A challenging time for our nation and we’re looking for leadership. If not from the Prime Minister we’ll see if we find it from the premiers at the Council of the Federation call tomorrow.”