TransLink has cancelled some journeys on the West Coast Express last week due to rail blockades (Black Press Media files) TransLink cancelled some journeys on the West Coast Express last week due to rail blockades (Black Press Media files)

Langley Chamber of Commerce asks for input on rail blockades

The local business group is asking if local businesses have been impacted

The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce is looking to get the views of its members on the recent rail blockades that have held up or stopped train traffic across Canada.

The chamber has sent letters to local MPs Tako van Popta of Langley-Aldergrove and Tamara Jansen of Cloverdale-Langley City.

Langley chamber CEO Colleen Clark said the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and 44 other business organizations have sent a letter to the office of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for action.

“If your company is being affected by this crisis please email me directly,” said Clark. “We want to hear from you and have your voice heard in Ottawa.”

The protests over the past two weeks have been in support of a group of Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs who are opposed to a Coastal GasLink pipeline being built through their traditional territory in northwestern B.C.

The blockades have stopped trains in Alberta, Quebec, Ontario, and even commuter rail in the Lower Mainland.

ALSO READ: Everything you need to know about the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute

During Question Period in Ottawa Friday, Feb. 21, Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen pressed the Trudeau government about the need to quickly address the rail blockades that are affecting businesses across the country.

In their letter to Jansen, Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce CEO Colleen Clark said they 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. On behalf of the 1025 businesses represented by the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, we urge the government to act without delay.”

Having met with local business owners first hand to discuss the issue, MP Jansen was able to put forward the specific example of Langley’s Bimbo Canada Bakery when she rose in the House of Commons to call for action.

“Bimbo Canada Bakery…produces an impressive 9,000 loaves of bread an hour at its plant. It is proud of the fact that it uses only the highest quality Canadian prairie wheat flour for its products,” said MP Jansen, standing in the House. “As Phil (Manager, Government Relations and Sustainability ) showed us around, he spoke about the rail blockades impeding their shipments of that key ingredient to the bakeries across Canada. Without flour, production stops.

“What does the Prime Minister plan to say to Canadians when the bread runs out?”

The Government spokesperson responded in the House that there would be no action to remove the barricades. However, later on Friday afternoon, the Prime Minister announced that he would be doing what the Chamber and MP Jansen had called for.

READ MORE: Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

“I am proud to speak on behalf of our local businesses and the thousands of people they employ in our community,” concluded MP Jansen. “And while the Prime Minister now says he will take action, I will continue to work with local organizations like the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce to monitor what impact these blockades have on local businesses and jobs.”

“These concerns are too important for the Government to simply ignore them.”

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