Trump associate Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in prison after rollercoaster trial – CBC.ca

February 20th, 2020

Calling the president’s frequent tweets about the case “entirely inappropriate,” a federal judge sentenced Donald Trump ally Roger Stone to over three years in prison on Thursday.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson handed down a 40-month sentence after Stone was convicted in November on a seven-count indictment that accused him of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign co-ordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election.

The sentence seems likely to draw a public rebuke from Trump, who maintains that Stone’s entire case is just an aspect of the ongoing “witch hunt” against him and his allies by bitter Democrats and the “deep state” inside the FBI and the Justice Department.

Given Trump’s clemency spree this week, there has also been speculation that Trump could eventually pardon Stone.

“I haven’t given it any thought … but I think he’s been treated very unfairly,” Trump said this week.

Outside the courthouse, a small crowd gathered for Stone’s arrival. Two people held a large banner featuring a sketch of Stone and #PardonRogerStone emblazoned underneath. Next to it was a large multimedia figure of a rat constructed to look like Trump, with his distinctive red tie and hair.

Stone, wearing dark sunglasses and a fedora, had no comment as he arrived, with one onlooker shouting “Traitor!”

Stone is the sixth Trump aide or adviser to be convicted of charges brought as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen are currently serving prison sentences, while Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos received short prison terms. The fate of former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn has yet to be determined; Flynn withdrew an earlier guilty plea.

Sentencing recommendation changed, sparking resignations

In Stone’s initial sentencing memorandum filed Feb. 10, prosecutors said Stone deserved a prison term lasting seven to nine years, in accordance with federal sentencing guidelines. Such a sentence would send a message to deter others who might consider lying or obstructing a congressional probe or tampering with witnesses, the prosecutors said.

Prosecutors had charged in the filing that Stone “decided to double- and triple-down on his criminal conduct by tampering with a witness for months in order to make sure his obstruction would be successful.”

“Stone’s actions were not a one-off mistake in judgment. Nor were his false statements made in the heat of the moment. They were nowhere close to that,” prosecutors wrote in the court papers.

William Barr’s intervention in the Stone case led to the resignations of four prosecutors and an open letter signed by over 1,000 former Justice Department officials calling for the attorney general’s resignation. (The Associated Press)

Trump took to Twitter to denounce that recommendation as a “miscarriage of justice.”

Attorney General William Barr then backed off that recommendation, prompting four prosecutors to quit Stone’s case. 

The attorney general ordered a new memorandum with a less harsh punishment, though it provided no specifics and left the details to the judge.

Barr later said in an ABC News interview that he had not been asked by Trump to look into the case, but he did not go into great detail as to why he chose to intervene in this specific case.

The controversy prompted a rare statement from the Chief Judge of the D.C. District Court, Beryl A. Howell, who said “public criticism or pressure is not a factor” in judges’ sentencing decisions.

In an open letter to the media, over 1,000 former Justice Department officials last week called on Barr to resign. 

“A person should not be given special treatment in a criminal prosecution because they are a close political ally of the President,” the letter read. “Governments that use the enormous power of law enforcement to punish their enemies and reward their allies are not constitutional republics; they are autocracies.”

Stone’s communications with WikiLeaks under scrutiny

Stone, 67, has denied wrongdoing and consistently criticized the case against him as politically motivated. He did not take the stand during his trial and his lawyers did not call any witnesses in his defence.

Stone’s defence team requested a new trial and had asked Judge Amy Berman Jackson to delay sentencing until she rules on that motion. Earlier this week she refused, opting to rule on the motion separately. 

An inflatable rat depicted as U.S. President Donald Trump is seen outside federal courthouse, along with a banner in support of Roger Stone’s defence. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

Trump associates at conservative media outlets have run segments and articles alleging that a specific juror in the case was biased against Stone.

The evidence presented in trial provided new insight into the scramble inside the Trump campaign when it was revealed in July 2016 that the anti-secrecy site WikiLeaks was in possession of more than 19,000 emails hacked from the servers of the Democratic National Committee.

Witnesses testified that Trump’s campaign viewed Stone as an “access point” to WikiLeaks and tried to use him to get advance word about hacked emails damaging to Hillary Clinton.

Prosecutors argued that Stone had lied to Congress about his conversations about WikiLeaks with New York radio host and comedian Randy Credico.

During the 2016 campaign, Stone had mentioned in interviews and public appearances that he was in contact with founder Julian Assange through a trusted intermediary and hinted at inside knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans.

Godfather references, dog threats

Testimony revealed that Stone, while appearing before the House Intelligence Committee, named Credico as his intermediary to Assange and pressured Credico not to contradict him.

After Credico was contacted by Congress, he reached out to Stone, who told him he should “stonewall it” and “plead the fifth,” he testified. Credico also testified during Stone’s trial that Stone repeatedly told him to “do a ‘Frank Pentangeli,'” a reference to a character in The Godfather: Part II who lies before Congress.

Prosecutors also charged that Stone had threatened Credico’s therapy dog, Bianca, saying he was “going to take that dog away from you.”

Stone is shown in 2017 in Boca Raton, Fla., speaking to members of the conservative group America First beside a placard of Trump. The relationship between the two men stretches back to the 1980s. (Michael Ares/Palm Beach Post/The Associated Press)

In the run-up to trial, Stone raised the ire of the judge with comments made in social media posts and interviews, leading to a gag order and the threat of pre-trial detention.

While Trump has tried to downplay his personal relationship with some of the associates previously charged or convicted, it is more difficult in the case of Stone, a friend for decades.

The real estate tycoon was a client of the lobbying firm Black, Manafort and Stone beginning in the 1980s, and admitted in the recent documentary Get Me Roger Stone that the Republican operative has long groomed him for a run for political office. Stone was often by Trump’s side as he talked up a possible 2000 bid for president as a candidate of the Reform Party.

In 2015, Stone was on board as Trump launched his bid for president as a Republican, but left the campaign under unclear circumstances in August that year, soon after Corey Lewandowski took over as campaign chair.

But as details of the indictment made clear, Stone was regularly in touch with Trump campaign officials throughout the campaign in 2016 and into the transition phase.

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‘Westworld’ Season 3 Trailer: Watch Now – Hollywood Reporter

February 20th, 2020

The HBO science fiction drama returns for its third season March 15.

“I was born into this world, and my first memories of it are pain.” So speaks Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), the artificial intelligence icon who broke free from the park confines of Westworld at the end of season two, trading her original world for a new one — our world, to be precise, albeit with some pivotal technological upgrades.

That nearish-future version of our world is front and center in the brand-new official trailer for Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s science fiction series, returning for its third season on March 15, with veterans like Thandie Newton and Jeffrey Wright along for the ride, as well as space for newcomers, including Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul.

Dropping with time to spare before the premiere, the latest look at Westworld season three is far and away the best one yet. Composer Ramin Djawadi provides a piano cover of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine,” as the trailer electrically clarifies multiple plot points established only as teasers up until now. For instance:

• Will the Westworld park still exist in season three, despite its veritable abandonment in season two? Looks like the answer is a yes, albeit the exact form remains unknown. Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard is seen near the iconic church in the park at one point, though it’s not clear if he is reliving an old memory, is actually at the park itself or is building something new yet familiar.

• How will Thandie Newton’s Maeve return to the story, after her death in season two? The Comic-Con trailer offered an answer of sorts, depicting Maeve in a Nazi-occupied locale that may or may not be a new park. (More grimly, given the season’s 2050s setting, it’s possible the location isn’t a Nazi-themed park at all but a place where Nazis reign freely with power.) The latest trailer shows Maeve crossing paths with Vincent Cassell’s new character, who gives her a mission: Track down Dolores and kill her.

• Dolores, meanwhile, is seen in various scenes opposite Aaron Paul’s Caleb, a construction worker in Los Angeles who becomes a key part of whatever the rebellious host is planning. She suggests that a person — or even a “something” — has been watching Caleb and is responsible for taking away his future.

• If the person is someone we already know, there’s a very likely suspect in the trailer: William, aka the Man in Black, played by Ed Harris. The dark gunslinger is seen clad in all white, clearly imprisoned or institutionalized. “Welcome to the end of the game,” Dolores tells him at one point. For his part, the Man in Black’s quest-craving mood remains intact, as he later expresses a plot of his own: “I’m going to save the fucking world.”

• What’s next for Liam Hemsworth’s Stubbs, revealed at the end of season two as an undercover host? Jury’s out, but at least we know one of his scene partners: Bernard, the two of them working in concert as Dolores moves forward with a plan to do things “the old-fashioned way: We kill everyone.”

• “The old gods are coming, and they are very angry,” Dolores says at the end of the trailer. She’s standing on a dark highway across from a familiar face: Maeve, once again wielding a sword, not unlike her Shogun World days. The Dolores and Maeve showdown may finally be upon us, mere weeks away.

Follow THR.com/Westworld for more coverage.

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Mobvoi Updates TicWatch Pro for 2020, Adds 1GB RAM – Droid Life

February 20th, 2020

Google AI tool will no longer use gendered labels like ‘woman’ or ‘man’ in photos of people – The Verge

February 20th, 2020

Public Safety Minister Blair says B.C. RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, offers to move officers away – National Post

February 20th, 2020

OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says the RCMP in British Columbia has offered to move its officers to a town away from the area where traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have been opposing a pipeline project on their territory.

Blair said on Parliament Hill Thursday morning he believes this move meets conditions set by the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

“I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down,” Blair said before a cabinet meeting.

“We have met the condition that those who are on the barricades had said was important to them before they would change their posture, and that work has been done, and I think quite appropriately.”

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project that would bring natural gas to a liquefaction facility and export terminal on the B.C. coast, though elected band-council leaders broadly support it.

Nationwide protests and blockades followed a move by RCMP to enforce a court injunction earlier this month against the hereditary chiefs and their supporters, who had been obstructing an access road to the company’s work site.

The hereditary chiefs have demanded the RCMP leave their traditional land and have refused to meet with federal or provincial officials until this was done.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under increasing pressure to end the blockades, with Conservatives calling for the government to use force, while the Liberal government insists negotiations are the only way to a lasting solution.

Blair said the decision to move officers away from their outpost on the traditional Wet’suwet’en territory to the nearby town of Houston was a decision made by the RCMP in B.C. and added that he agrees it was the right move.

“I’m very proud of the work that was done by the leadership of the RCMP. Their commitment to peaceful resolution of these complex issues is, I think, quite commendable and Canadians should be very proud of the work that they do,” he said.

“It’s moving towards a less confrontational and a more peaceable arrangement entirely appropriate to the circumstances, and I’m very hopeful that will satisfy the concerns that were raised.”

In a speech in the House of Commons this morning, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said while she has not yet been able to meet with all the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in person, she has conversed with some of them and hopes to meet with them all soon to clarify a path forward.

“We are committed to finding a mutually acceptable process with them and the Wet’suwet’en nation, to sit down and address the urgent and long-term issues at hand,” Bennett said.


A small, mobile RCMP detachment in a remote area of British Columbia has become a bargaining chip in proposed talks that many hope could put an end to blockades that have disrupted rail and road traffic across the country.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

“We hope that the Wet’suwet’en will be able to express to those in solidarity with them that it is now time for them to stand down and let us get back to work.”

Four Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have travelled east and are expected to meet with members of the Mohawk Nation in Quebec and Ontario who have been protesting in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. Mohawks at Tyendinaga, between Toronto and Montreal, have blocked a critical rail line, cutting both freight and passenger traffic with coast-to-coast ramifications.

Bennett said she would be happy to meet with the chiefs while they’re in eastern Canada, but added that she is willing also to travel to B.C. to meet with them in their traditional territory if they prefer.

Meanwhile, the federal agriculture minister is indicating that help could soon be on the way for farmers impacted by the barricades that have virtually shut down Canada’s rail network.

Marie-Claude Bibeau said last year and the beginning of 2020 have been difficult for Canada’s agriculture sector.

Bibeau told reporters in Ottawa she is looking for “practical ways” to support farmers who have been unable to get their products to market as a result of the barricades. However she would not elaborate, saying she needed to speak with her cabinet colleagues first.

And Ontario Conservative MP Erin O’Toole, who is running for his party’s leadership, issued a statement saying if he were prime minister, he would criminalize blocking transportation corridors and issue a blanket policy telling police to clear blockades without waiting for court orders.

***

Disruptions by anti-pipeline protesters across Canada: A timeline

RCMP began enforcing an injunction earlier this month that prevents interference with construction of a $6.6-billion natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia.

Here is a timeline of the dispute, along with rail disruptions by people showing solidarity with the hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs opposing the Coastal GasLink project:

Dec. 31, 2019 — The B.C. Supreme Court grants Coastal GasLink an injunction calling for the removal of any obstructions including cabins and gates on any roads, bridges or work sites the company has been authorized to use.

Jan. 1, 2020 — The Wet’suwet’en First Nation serves Coastal GasLink with an eviction notice, telling the company workers are “currently trespassing” on their unceded territory.

Jan. 27 — The British Columbia government appoints former New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen as a provincial liaison with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in the LNG pipeline dispute.

Jan. 30 — The hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en agree to seven days of meetings with the province.

Feb. 5 — The talks that were intended to de-escalate the dispute fail after just two days.

Feb. 6 — The RCMP move in to Wet’suwet’en territory to enforce the court injunction that would have allowed construction work to resume. A handful of pipeline opponents are arrested. Hours later, outside of Belleville, Ont., east of Toronto, protesters start holding up railway traffic in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.


Protesters perform a round dance as they prepare to end their blockade at the CN rail line near 213 Street and 110 Avenue in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, in Edmonton Wednesday Feb. 19, 2020.

David Bloom

Feb. 7 — Via Rail halts service along one of its busiest routes because of the Belleville-area blockade. All travel between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal is cancelled. Canadian National Railway obtains a court injunction to end a demonstration by members of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville. Protesters also begin disruptions at ports in Vancouver and Delta, B.C.

Feb. 8 — Protesters in Toronto disrupt Canadian Pacific Railway traffic moving through the downtown area.

Feb. 9 — Kahnawake Mohawk community members south of Montreal erect a blockade on a CP rail line.

Feb. 10 — Demonstrators in the Montreal area disrupt commuter train service on the Exo Candiac line. A shuttle bus service is in effect for affected rail stations.

Feb. 11 — CN stops transport between Prince George, B.C., and Prince Rupert, B.C., because of a blockade near Hazelton, B.C. The company says it has halted more than 150 freight trains since blockades started on Feb. 6.

Feb. 12 — The Manitoba government says it may seek a court injunction to end a blockade on a rail line west of Winnipeg, but CN obtains its own court order. Two hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs start a constitutional challenge of fossil fuel projects, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calls for demonstrators across the country to observe the rule of law.

Feb. 13 — CN shuts down its operations in Eastern Canada. The railway says blockades have ended in Manitoba and may come down soon in British Columbia, but the orders of a court in Ontario have yet to be enforced and continue to be ignored.

Feb. 14 — A rail blockade that halted train traffic to and from the Port of Prince Rupert is lifted as First Nations leaders agree to meet with federal and provincial politicians.

Feb. 15 — Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller travels to meet with protesters in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near the site of the Belleville blockade. He says “modest progress” was made during nine hours of talks, but declines to share details on what was discussed.

Feb. 16 — Trudeau cancels his planned trip to Barbados, less than 24 hours before his scheduled departure, so he can handle the protests in Canada. Meanwhile, protesters briefly shut down a busy Ontario border crossing.

Feb. 17 — Trudeau convenes the Incident Response Group, an emergency committee that meets in the event of a national crisis.

Feb. 18 — An emergency debate is held in the House of Commons, where the Opposition Conservatives advocate for forceful action and the governing Liberals push for ongoing dialog with backing from other political parties. Meanwhile, CN issues temporary layoff notices for 450 employees, citing the ongoing protests as the reason for the move.


Supporters of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline set up a support station near Houston B.C., on Jan. 8, 2020.

Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/File

Feb. 19 — Protesters erect a blockade along a stretch of CN rail line in Edmonton, but are soon faced with counter-protesters who begin forcibly dismantling the barricade. The blockade is taken down later in the day. Via Rail announces nearly 1,000 temporary layoffs in light of ongoing service suspensions across much of Canada. The rail provider also cancels plans to resume a route between Ottawa and Quebec City as a new blockade is erected near Montreal.

Feb. 20 — Federal Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says a mobile RCMP unit stationed in Wet’suwet’en territory has been relocated to Houston, B.C. He says this concession complies with a key demand from the hereditary chiefs and calls for all rail blockades to be dismantled. Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs travel to Quebec and Ontario to thank supporters who have maintained the blockades.Teresa Wright

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Trump ally Roger Stone sentenced to prison – BBC News

February 20th, 2020
Roger StoneImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Roger Stone has maintained all along that the case against him is politically motivated

Roger Stone, long-time adviser and ally to President Donald Trump, has been sentenced to 40 months in jail.

Stone, 67, was found guilty in November on seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction and witness tampering.

He is the sixth Trump aide convicted in a criminal case resulting from Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

Mr Trump has hinted he may pardon his ally.

Stone has maintained the case against him was politically motivated.

Explaining the sentence, Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Stone had engaged in “intolerable” “threatening and intimidating conduct” toward her.

Last week, prosecutors on the case quit after the Justice Department said it planned to reduce the amount of prison time sought for the president’s long-time ally.

The prosecutors had recommended a sentence of seven to nine years.

In a tweet, Mr Trump had called the recommendation “very horrible and unfair”.

The court heard that Stone had told five lies under oath, including about his conversations with Trump campaign officials and a supposed “intermediary” with WikiLeaks in early August 2016.

Image copyright Getty Images

He also lied about the existence of certain texts or emails.

Speaking in a Washington courtroom on Thursday, Judge Jackson said Stone “knew exactly what he was doing” when he posted an image to social media last year of a gun sight over the judge, calling the proceedings a “show trial”.

“This is intolerable to the rule of justice,” Judge Jackson said. “The court cannot just sit idly by and say ‘that’s just Roger being Roger.'”

Stone, wearing sunglasses and a dark fedora, declined to speak at Thursday’s hearing.

His lawyer, Seth Ginsberg, said Stone’s public persona – that of a self-described “dirty trickster” – masked the true “human being”, a spiritual man, devoted to his family.

Mr Ginsberg had argued that Stone did not deserve the tougher sentencing guidelines demanded by federal guidelines.

Stone will serve two years’ probation after his custodial sentence. He has also been fined $20,000 (£15,500) and must serve 250 hours of community service.

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Canadian cruise passengers who test negative for COVID-19 leave ship – CBC.ca

February 20th, 2020

The latest:

  • Canadians who cleared medical screening disembark after 2-week quarantine on Diamond Princess.
  • Charter flight for eligible Canadians expected to take off early Friday morning, local time.
  • 47 Canadians among the more than 630 people from the cruise ship to test positive for COVID-19.
  • Local media report that 2 Japanese passengers who tested positive for coronavirus have died.

Canadian passengers aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan who have not tested positive for COVID-19 were allowed off the ship today ahead of a charter flight that’s scheduled to leave Tokyo on Friday.

There were 256 Canadians on the ship, which has been docked in Yokohama since early February. Of those, 47 have tested positive for COVID-19, Global Affairs Canada said.

A charter flight to repatriate Canadians and permanent residents who have not tested positive is expected to leave Friday morning Tokyo time.

Allan and Diana Chow, an Ontario couple who were also on the Diamond Princess, have been eager to get off the ship, which Allan previously described as a “floating jailhouse.”

The pair, who have been sending photos back to their daughter in Toronto who then posts to Twitter, said they are off the ship and heading to buses that will take them to the airport.

The plane is set to land at CFB Trenton in Ontario, as did previous repatriation flights that brought people back to Canada from Wuhan, China — the epicentre of the outbreak. From there, the Diamond Princess returnees will be transported to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ont.

Global Affairs said that if space allowed, non-Canadian immediate family of citizens and permanent residents would be allowed on the flight to allow families to stay together.

If people choose not to return home on the charter flight, GAC said they would have to finish the quarantine being run by health officials in Japan and follow local instructions.

“Canadians seeking to return to Canada by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act upon their return, in line with a determination to be made by the Public Health Agency of Canada,” the statement read, though it did not say exactly what that would mean for those who elect not to board the charter.

Cruise ship case numbers increase

On Thursday, Japan said another 13 people from the ship had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to more than 630.

The increase came after local media reported that two Japanese citizens who had contracted the virus while on the ship had died.

The two patients who died, an 87-year-old man and an 84-year-old woman, had both tested positive for the virus although the woman’s cause of death was listed as pneumonia, the Health Ministry said. Two government officials who had worked on the ship were infected, it added, bringing the number of infected officials to five.

Public broadcaster NHK reported that 27 people from the ship were in serious condition. Kyodo News has previously reported 29 were in serious condition.

Hundreds of passengers who were cleared were able to get off the ship on Wednesday, the first batch of travellers to leave the ship after the two-week quarantine ended.

The coronavirus emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, apparently in a wildlife market, and has now infected some 75,000 people and killed about 2,100.

The vast majority of cases and deaths have been in China, and more specifically Hubei province, of which Wuhan is capital, but the global spread appears inexorable.

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Deadpool Skin Is Fortnite’s Season 2 Secret Unlock – GameSpot

February 20th, 2020

Verizon says it’s fully committed to Google’s phones this year after rumor of a split – The Verge

February 20th, 2020

RCMP have offered to withdraw from Wet’suwet’en territory – CBC.ca

February 20th, 2020

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says he’s hopeful the RCMP’s offer to leave their outpost on Wet’suwet’en territory in northern B.C. will lead to the barricades coming down, as talks continue to try and defuse the rail blockades crippling the country’s rail network.

“I’m very hopeful that that will satisfy the concerns that were raised,” said Blair ahead of a Thursday morning cabinet meeting.

“I think the RCMP have made a very sound operational decision based on the current circumstances.” 

CBC News has obtained a copy of a letter from RCMP Deputy Commissioner Jennifer Strachan to the hereditary chiefs, first reported on by Global News, offering to move the RCMP’s temporary detachment from near the protest site to the nearby town of Houston — as long as Morice West Forest Service Road remains clear. The RCMP confirmed that letter was sent. 

“As always, we encourage dialogue over enforcement with a goal of a long-term solution,” Strachan wrote, while asking for a meeting “in the near future.”

Watch: Blair says B.C. RCMP offering to leave Wet’suwet’en territory

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair says B.C. RCMP have offered to withdraw its mobile station in Wet’suwet’en traditional territory. Blair spoke to reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting Thursday. 4:04

The RCMP, which acts as the provincial police in B.C., moved in to enforce a court injunction earlier this month after the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters blocked construction of the $6-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline project. The B.C. Supreme Court issued an injunction in December authorizing the police to clear away the protesters that had blocked access to the public road.

Those arrests triggered national protests and the rail blockades, which hit the two-week mark Thursday. Via Rail announced nearly 1,000 layoffs Wednesday as it grapples with a nationwide shutdown, while CN Rail has issued temporary pink slips to 450 workers as the blockade has shuttered much of its eastern Canadian operations.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has offered to meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs as soon as possible to help resolve the dispute.

Trudeau calls blockades an ‘unacceptable situation’ 

So far, the hereditary chiefs have said they won’t meet with the federal and provincial ministers until the RCMP leave their territory.

Blair said he hopes the RCMP’s offer will meet the chiefs’ conditions. 

“We have met the condition that those who were on the barricades had said was important to them before they would change their posture,” he said.

“I believe the time has come now for the barricades to come down.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet met in Ottawa Thursday morning to chart a path forward.

“We’re working very hard to end the blockades. It’s an unacceptable situation,” said the prime minister.

Meanwhile, a handful of hereditary chiefs travelled to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory near Belleville, Ont., to meet with protesters there who have been blockading CN Rail in solidarity.

CN gets injunction for Montreal blockade

CN Rail says it has obtained an injunction to dismantle a rail blockade on Montreal’s South Shore.

“We’ve obtained the injunction and are hoping for a swift resolution of this incident so that passenger commuter rail service can resume,” it said in a statement.

Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters earlier Thursday that “once the injunction is granted, we will dismantle the blockade.”

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