The general manager of a rail line in the Gaspé region says he fears for the survival of his business if authorities can’t negotiate an end to a rail blockade in Listuguj.
Luc Lévesque says the Société du chemin de fer de la Gaspésie had to lay off half its 30 employees last week and is at risk of losing major contracts with clients.
“After three weeks, we’re no longer in monetary losses, in daily revenues. Now we’re looking at loss of contracts, we’re headed to major long-term deadlines and I’d say we’re even on the cusp of looking at the future of the company,” he said.
Members of the Listuguj Mi’kmaq First Nation have refused to dismantle the barricade, in defiance of a court injunction issued this week.
The Mi’kmaq government in the area has said while its band council is not involved in the protest in support of hereditary chiefs in the Wet’suwet’en territory in British Columbia, it has no intention of forcefully removing peaceful protesters from the rail line.
The band council said it was disappointed an injunction was sought “without an agreement beforehand to discuss or negotiate” with the community to resolve the situation.
The SCFG says about 150 train cars are paralyzed by the blockade. The railway serves several companies, but the three most important are wind turbine blade manufacturer LM Wind Power in Gaspé, sawmill Temrex in Nouvelle and cement company McInnis in Port-Daniel.