Gas prices could spike during rail blockade by Wet'suwet'en supporters
VANCOUVER -- A Canada-wide demonstration already impacting those who rely on rail service may also have an effect on the price at the pump, analysts suggest.
Activists have been blocking trail tracks in Belleville, Ont., for 12 days straight, and vow to keep trains from rolling until construction is halted on a natural gas pipeline in Northern B.C.
The impacts of the blockade are being felt across Canada – the movement of goods has been slowed and the prime minister called an emergency meeting on Monday – but experts now say it could lead to higher gas prices in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.
An Alberta-based economist speculated a spike somewhere between 10 to 30 cents per litre was possible.
"If blockades persist you will definitely see an increase in fuel prices," the University of Calgary's Kent Fellows said.
"A lot of the volume that is coming in from Alberta refineries to the Lower Mainland is now on rail."
While drivers who spoke to CTV News Vancouver on Monday expressed their frustration, few seemed surprised.
One said there always seems to be another reason to pay more at the pump.
"I mean, everything goes up all the time. Especially in this city (Vancouver). So it's just another thing to endure," driver Mike Freides said.
"You can't go without gas, much like you can't go without utilities or food. It's above my paygrade to solve that problem."
But many feel it's not above the prime minister's, which is why he held an emergency meeting.
Speaking to media, Justin Trudeau said he was aware of growing frustrations among those on both sides of the dispute, and among Canadians who aren't involved.
"I understand how worrisome this is, and difficult. We are going to continue to focus on resolving this situation quickly and peacefully," he said.
The meeting was behind closed doors, but he said a team of ministers has been tasked with finding a solution.
Demonstrations are also affecting cargo ships docked near the Port of Vancouver.
"Demand for anchorage is currently exceeding the availability, causing a backlog of ships waiting to get into port," a spokesperson with the port said.
The rail blockage forced CN to shut down all of its operations in eastern Canada, and the vessels are stuck waiting to unload. More ships are expected to arrive in the coming days.
With a report from CTV News Vancouver's Emad Agahi