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

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