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Penalties & Prison Time: Alberta Introduces Legislation to Punish Damages to Rail, Energy Assets, Infrastructure

By Carlos Caminada

(Bloomberg)Canada’s oil-rich province of Alberta, seeking to head off blockades that have paralyzed parts of the country’s rail network in recent weeks, introduced legislation to increase penalties for protesters who damage or interfere with infrastructure.The bill proposed Tuesday by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney would add penalties of as much as C$25,000  and six months of prison time for those who interfere with “essential infrastructure,” including pipelines, refineries, railways and mines. It also would create legal offenses for entering infrastructure facilities under false pretenses, interfering with their construction and aiding others with committing those offenses.Environmental and indigenous-rights activists have obstructed rail lines across Canada to protest the construction of TC Energy Corp.’s C$6.6 billion Coastal GasLink pipeline in British Columbia. On Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau acknowledged his government’s efforts to negotiate a solution had failed and signaled he would be open to police intervention. Some blockades came down thanks to injunctions obtained by Canadian National Railway Co., including one near Edmonton, Alberta’s capital.

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