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Native groups ask railways to shut down on day of protests

CALGARY, Alta. -- Canadian native groups are calling on the nations railways to voluntary shut down service during...


CALGARY, Alta. — Canadian native groups are calling on the nations railways to voluntary shut down service during their June 29 day of action or face blockades.

Native chiefs met yesterday to discuss their plans for June 29, which aims to disrupt Canadas economy in an attempt to bring land claims issues to the forefront. Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice responded yesterday by saying native groups should not target business when their dispute is with government.

Assembly of First Nations Grand Chief, Phil Fontaine, said native leaders are not encouraging blockades. However, some outspoken native leaders, including Manitoba Chief Terry Nelson, have publicly warned rail lines would be blocked on June 29.

“If passing out pamphlets along the roadway was effective, we’d be doing that,” Nelson told reporters yesterday. “The pressure’s going to come from industry, it’s not going to come just from powerless Canadians that figure that they have a great democracy and all they have to do is vote and things will change.”

CN told the Globe and Mail that it would not shut down its operations on June 29. CP refused to comment until it has the chance to review the resolution passed by native leaders yesterday. The railways have been targeted because of the widespread economic impact caused by their shutdown and also because there are currently land-claims cases involving railway rights-of-way.

– With files from the Globe and Mail


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