A teen’s perspective: Ordinary Canadians are paying a price for railway blockades

The following is a letter by Alberta teenager Liam Smith to his MP, Damien Kurek.

The correspondence has also been sent to provincial, federal and corporate leaders.

My name is Liam Smith.

I am a 14-year-old boy from Camrose.

I know this may be tough to act upon, but I have to try and do something. My father works hard at his job with the railway, and so do others we know personally.

The recent railway blockades are not only affecting Canada’s economy, but the work and jobs in my family and others.

Thousands of Via Rail passengers all over the country are stuck without transportation they rely on, especially between Toronto and Montreal, as there is a blockade on the corridor route.

I, as well as my family, are booked on a VIA train in early March. I am aware this is not just about me or my family, but I have been looking forward to this trip for five months.

However, the Canadian economy and people’s main sources of income rely on this railway. These people are breaking many laws.

I was taught by my parents, and at school, that breaking the law is not right. Me, being a 14-year-old, if I did something like this for any reason, I would be arrested pretty quickly, and so would anyone else.

These people are just like any other Canadian citizens, but they are not being managed or even told that they are breaking several laws, including trespassing.

I am not ashamed to be Canadian, and I never will be ashamed to be Canadian, but I am ashamed of my government.

These people are breaking the law and putting themselves in danger. These people should not be allowed to get away with breaking the law and trespassing on railway property.

There are 37 million citizens in Canada, not just these people.

I know I am a small voice in a big crowd, but the things these people are doing is very wrong. Laws must be enforced.

I mean all of this with the highest regard of respect. These people are putting themselves in danger.

If a train decides not to stop, they could all be killed in the blink of an eye.

Not to mention the immense disrespect they have for the country they are citizens of, with the derogatory and offensive signs they are using, such as upside down Canadian flags with messages such as “shut Canada down.”

It makes me sick to think people who take all the things they want from this country — freedom, health care, freedom of expression — and just look back at the people who work hard to grant all these things, and just practically spit on them.

It is comparable to someone giving you a Lamborghini, and then looking back at the person who gave it to you, and just spitting on them, and disrespecting them.

And they will keep doing it. Law enforcement needs to step in and do something about this. It is affecting many people around the country. The group protesting is relatively small, and the need for the railway is large.

And as the wisest person I know of, Spock, says: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

I know it will be hard for me to be heard, but I need to try and take action instead of sitting on my butt complaining and doing nothing about it.

I mean all this with the highest regard of respect.

Respectfully,

Liam Smith, Camrose

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta Health Services' central zone jumped from 162 active COVID-19 cases to 178 on Friday. Five additional deaths were reported provincewide, bringing the toll to 323. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
622 new COVID-19 cases set another daily high Friday

Province confirmed 622 additional cases Friday

Advocate file photo
Man awaiting murder trial facing two new trials for breaching release conditions

Quentin Strawberry going to trial in March in connection with 2019 murder

Ecole La Prairie students and teachers dressed up in Halloween costumes and paraded by Barrett Kiwanis Place, while waving at the building’s residents in Red Deer on Friday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Ecole La Prairie students parade in Halloween costumes for Red Deer seniors

Dozens of Red Deer students put on their Halloween costumes to spread… Continue reading

Advocate file photo
Preliminary hearing set for Walmart shooting suspect

Chase Freed facing second-degree murder and attempted murder charges

Truck driver Jaskirat Singh Sidhu walks into the Kerry Vickar Centre for his sentencing in Melfort, Sask., Friday, March 22, 2019. nbsp;A lawyer representing the truck driver responsible for the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus collision says he wants to stay in Canada once released from prison. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis
Truck driver responsible for Humboldt Broncos crash seeks to stay in Canada

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was sentenced to eight years after pleading guilty to multiple charges

FILE - Artist Billy Joe Shaver poses backstage following his concert "Billy Joe Shaver presented by WMOT/Roots Radio" at City Winery Nashville in Nashville, Tenn. on April 1, 2017. Shaver, who penned songs for Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Bobby Bare, has died. His friend Connie Nelson said he died Wednesday in Texas following a stroke. He was 81. (Photo by Laura Roberts/Invision/AP, File)
Outlaw country artist Billy Joe Shaver dead at 81

Outlaw country artist Billy Joe Shaver dead at 81

Vancouver author Julie Flett is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
‘Birdsong’ by Julie Flett wins $50K children’s literature award

‘Birdsong’ by Julie Flett wins $50K children’s literature award

Children wait using physical distancing while getting their picture taken at picture day at St. Barnabas Catholic School during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Sanitizer, masks and smiles mark an unusual school photo day for a COVID-19 year

Sanitizer, masks and smiles mark an unusual school photo day for a COVID-19 year

People are silhouette as they walk holding hands along the board walk on a fall evening overlooking Lake Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 could make transition to standard time smoother, say experts

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any darker, the end of… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 23, 2018, file photo, the logo for ExxonMobil appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Exxon lost $1.1 billion in the second quarter, Friday, July 31, 2020, its economic pain deepening as the pandemic kept households on lockdown, diminishing the need for oil around the world. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
Losses mount for oil companies as pandemic grips economy

Losses mount for oil companies as pandemic grips economy

The offices of SNC Lavalin are seen Monday, March 26, 2012 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
SNC stock touches 52-week low after Q3 loss linked to arbitration, COVID precautions

SNC stock touches 52-week low after Q3 loss linked to arbitration, COVID precautions

Imperial Oil logo at the company's annual meeting in Calgary on April 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Imperial Oil ekes out Q3 profit as Kearl oilsands mine rebounds from outage

Imperial Oil ekes out Q3 profit as Kearl oilsands mine rebounds from outage

A sign board in Toronto shows the closing number for the TSX on Thursday October 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Spooked investors push North American stock markets to worst week since March

Spooked investors push North American stock markets to worst week since March

Most Read