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Canadian blockades to have long-term impact on its economy

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British Columbia business leaders say major rail blockades that shut down train service across the country will have lasting impacts

Major rail blockades that shut down train service across the country and sent a chill through the Canadian economy will have lasting impacts even after they’ve been taken down, according to a group of British Columbia business leaders.

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and the Business Council of BC are among the organizations to pen a joint statement claiming Canada is no longer seen as a safe place for major infrastructure investment.

Thursday morning, news broke that U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett’s investment firm Berkshire Hathaway was pulling a $4 billion investment for a natural gas export project in Quebec.

The company behind the project, GNL Quebec, confirms the climate of protests and political hurdles facing energy projects in Canada played a role in the decision.

When small pockets of society take it upon themselves in a democracy to thumb their nose at decision-making processes, it really calls into question the validity of what they’re doing, said Business Council of BC president Greg D’Avignon.

Thursday in Quebec, one of the longest running rail blockades came down as members of the Mohawk Nation vacated commuter rail tracks after nearly a month.

But signees to the statement on sagging investment claim the damage has already been done.

We’re lacking confidence. We’re lacking confidence in institutions and processes and in the rule of law, said D’Avignon, who also added authorities should move more quickly to make arrests if the blockades intensify again.

We expect that the police would enforce those injunctions, he said. Now it doesn’t mean violence, it doesn’t mean significant confrontation, but we need to make sure that when the rule of law is in place that it’s adhered to.

As for Indigenous and environmental activists behind the protest actions, their goal of disrupting the Canadian economy seems to have been achieved.

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