Supporters stand with protesters during a rail blockade in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ont. on Monday, Feb.17, 2020, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg Supporters stand with protesters during a rail blockade in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ont. on Monday, Feb.17, 2020, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the LNG pipeline in northern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Lars Hagberg

COLUMN

ZYTARUK: Trudeau needs to stop dithering and fix blockade crisis

Trudeau noted Canadians are asking themselves, “What is happening in this country?” He’s got that right

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So let it be written…

It’s so frustrating to watch Prime Minister Trudeau and his government dither during this national rail blockade crisis.

In its 13th day, and counting, it was like Trudeau was channeling the spirit of Neville Chamberlain on Tuesday as he provided the House of Commons with no coherent plan to deal with this ongoing national mess.

Peppered with platitudes, such as we need to “find a path forward,” and comments laden with irony, such as there are those “who want us to act in haste” and would “boil this down to slogans,” this speech delivered by Canada’s leader – you know, our guardian of Peace, Order and Good Government – should instead have been delivered before a mirror, and taken to heart.

Trudeau noted that Canadians are troubled and frustrated, and are asking themselves, “What is happening in this country?” He’s got that right.

“It is time, past time for this situation to be resolved,” he said. Again, correct.

“We need to find a solution, and we need to find it now.”

Again, yes.

But in a truly feeble abrogation of responsibility, our prime minister told the House of Commons that it’s Canadians who need to show “resolve,” when it’s Trudeau himself who needs to do so. We need to see a plan. The buck stops with him.

Last Friday, the Surrey Board of Trade called on Surrey’s MPs to “take action” on these blockades. “Canada’s economy and global image are in jeopardy if nothing is done,” CEO Anita Huberman warned.

“In the Surrey Board of Trade, and within Surrey, we have the greatest number of manufacturers in B.C. They ship goods on rail across our great country. This severely impacts not only their bottom line but also for all business.”

Huberman also noted that not only are the blockades preventing access to public transportation for tens of thousands of Canadians to get, among other places, to and from work, they’re also “severely” limiting the transportation of perishable foods, grain, construction materials, propane, timber, aluminum, coal and oil – by no means a full list.

“We are deeply concerned about the damage to the Canadian economy, the unfair denial of access to transportation services for Canadian citizens, and the undermining of the rule of law,” she said.

Just as an aside, it’s troubling that the RCMP has been demonstrably heavy-handed with journalists who are trying to publish and broadcast news from the field while as far as the protesters – pardon me, “land protectors” – who man illegal blockades are concerned, the federal government appears to be sitting on its hands in the hope that somehow “sunny ways” will prevail.

But not to worry, Trudeau told the House of Commons, his government is currently “Creating a space for peaceful, honest dialogue.”

The trouble is, if that space is actually a vacuum, devoid of substance, just what might rush in to fill it is concerning in its unpredictability.

Nobody is asking Trudeau to roll out the tanks.

But the federal government needs to reveal to Canadians that it actually has a coherent strategy to extract the country from this crisis. Dithering will only continue to back the federal government deeper into a corner, and nobody wants to see where that might lead.

Let’s all hope Trudeau and his government will rise to the occasion and get Canada back on track.

So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now-Leader. Email him at tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

zytaruk column so let it be done

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