Idle No More - First Nation blockade of Sarnia CN Rail track

Dec 25th, 2012

A southwestern Ontario First Nation is planning a rally in Sarnia today — the fourth day of its blockade of a CN Rail line in the city.

The Aamjiwnaang (AWN’-ja-nong) First Nation says both the demonstration at Sarnia city hall this morning and the ongoing blockade are part of the national Idle No More protests.

The mayor of Sarnia, Ont., says city police do not plan to shut down a CN Rail blockade by First Nations activists as long as no one is hurt in the protest.

Mike Bradley says CN obtained a court injunction that leaves it to police in the southwestern Ontario city to decide whether to end the three-day-old blockade.

Blockade spokesman Ron Plain says the protests are being led by young Aamjiwnaang First Nation members, who met Sunday with representatives from CN, as well as Bradley and Sarnia’s police chief.

Dozens of demonstrators set up tables, tents and vehicles on and around the track Friday as part of the national Idle No More protests.

Organizer Vanessa Gray says the rally aims to bring the community together “to stand up for what your rights are and what you believe in.”

Meanwhile, there’s no indication when the blockade will come to an end.

They say the blockade of the commercial-rail corridor will continue until Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with Attiwapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who is on a hunger strike to bring attention to aboriginal issues.

CN Rail spokesman Jim Feeny says the rail company is urging governments and police to step up negotiations to come up with a peaceful settlement.

He says the stoppage is starting to affect CN customers, for example it’s preventing propane shipments from getting to Canadian consumers.