NEWS

Via Rail trains back on schedule after Idle No More blockade

01/06/2013 11:34 EST | Updated 03/08/2013 05:12 EST
Via Rail said its service is back to normal after aboriginal protesters blocked railway tracks near Kingston, Ont., causing major delays Saturday.

Participants in the Idle No More grassroots movement brought at least four Via Rail passenger trains to a halt at Marysville, disrupting service between Montreal and Toronto and between Ottawa and Toronto.

In a news release, the passenger rail corporation said more than 1,000 passengers experienced delays of up to two hours.

The blockade ended shortly after midnight on Sunday.

Innu demonstrators also protested in front of federal Transport Minister Denis Lebel's office in Roberval, about 440 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

Idle No More is protesting the Conservative government's Bill C-45, an omnibus bill they say violates treaty rights and weakens environment laws.

Attawapiskat Cree Chief Theresa Spence, who started fasting on Dec. 11, has been demanding a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss some of the bill's repercussions on First Nations communities.

Harper has agreed to meet with First Nations leaders next Friday.

Spence has said she will continue her fast until that meeting takes place.

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