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#ShutDownCanada: CP Rail’s Secret Injunction – and what it tells us

Hamilton. Ontario. March 5, 2020. Sometime on Friday March 6th, 2020 in a secret courtroom on University Ave in Toronto, CP Rail will make a motion to have their interim injunction be extended to an interlocutory one. Didn’t know CP had an injunction just like CN Rail’s? Neither did anyone but CP Rail & Justice Myers – until they decided to serve recent Hamilton arrestees at their homes after 9pm last night.

Originally published by Northshore Info.

We spent too much time thumbing through several hundred pages of documents today, and grace you with the highlights here.

The Superior Court of Justice (Ontario) heard the motion for an interim injunction on February 25th before Justice Myers. It was granted, and then varied on the 26th. There’s a hearing on March 6th to extend the injunction. That said, evidence sheets were captures and printed in early February, so they’ve been preparing for awhile.

The injunction itself has an enforcement order, directing police to enforce it immediately. Upon arrest, one would sign a condition stating they’ll abide by the injunction and released, or be brought before the court to be proceeded against for contempt of court.

The injunction not only includes an order to stay 50 feet away from the outside rails of the tracks, and to not trespass, obstruct or block, but also “directly or indirectly intimidating any of CPR’s employees, contractors, agents…”. It also includes interfering with deliveries and contractors to a site, as well as “aiding, abetting, counseling, procuring or encouraging in any fashion any person or entity to commit or attempt to commit the actions mentioned”.

Very thought-crime esque.

But also nearly an exact replica of the CN injunction overall.

Things get slightly more interesting when it comes to the section that includes the evidence needed to file for the injunction – namely to prove or affirm that blockades will irreparably harm their business.

Most of it is still boring, but here are the clif notes:

William Law, who is the district inspector in charge of Ontario and Quebec within the CP Rail police confirmed that red flags and flares on tracks indicate operators must stop immediately. Crews observing them are not permitted to pass beyond them.

General Impacts of Blockades

  • Rails lines run high value, time sensitive shipments
  • CPR operates a schedule based railway. Ever wake up a few minutes late and it ruins the flow to your entire day? That’s what blockades do to rail lines.
  • There is “often no way around a blockade on the main line”
    • Train delays will cause backlog on tracks and in some yards, while causing car shortages in other years which compounds disruption.
    • Additionally, once the blockade lets up train crews can’t just continue on – the trains must be re-crewed because of service hour limits
  • In their words, blockades cause “significant economic damage”
  • 24 trains pass on the CP mainliner per day in the Toronto area. Half of them are intermodal (long distance consumer products) and half are mixed manifest.

“The Hamilton Blockade” (their words, not ours)

  • The Hamilton blockade, while only lasting two days, interrupted rail traffic between Buffalo-Toronto, Chicago-Buffalo-Montreal, Montreal-Chicago, and London-Buffalo.
  • Tarps strung across the rails successfully blocked the view of officers and photographers from afar
  • Hamilton Police had a meeting on February 25th at 9am with the Public Order Unit to discuss and decide a course of action to end the protest. The POU takes approximately 3 hours to convene.
  • Based on the heavy and increasing police presence, leaving at 5pm on the second day of the blockade saved a lot of people from arrest.

That’s it. We did say only slightly more interesting.

Now mask up, get out there, and get away with it.

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1 thought on “#ShutDownCanada: CP Rail’s Secret Injunction – and what it tells us

  1. You realise you don’t have to be physically present to block rail, right?

    Blocking rails with rocks, tree trunks etc would have the same effect – especially if they could be fixed in place. Risk of arrest would then be less. People would have to think about how to avoid risk to life and make sure the drivers know about the obstruction – but that’s an issue with occupations too.

    I’ve seen protests in the global South where protesters have kept pigs/soldiers running around for weeks, clearing road and rail blocks that keep appearing. If a barricade is attacked they flee, regroup and create it further up or down the route. Police can even find themselves cut off from supply lines in this way.

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