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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery added $1.17 to $53.29 on the New York Merc, while Brent for April added $1.37 to $59.12 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $17.35 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for March lost two cents to $1.96. The TSX energy index added 2.85 points to close at 133.57.
Anti-pipeline protesters have mounted a fresh rail blockade, this time halting rail traffic near Edmonton. Similar blockades in Eastern Canada have already forced national rail companies to suspend large swaths of service, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in manufactured goods to sit idle, with incalculable disruption to passengers and consumers. The protesters see this as a smashing success and are doubtless hoping to recreate it in Western Canada. Photographs from the blockade show signs emblazoned with "Wet'suwet'en strong," "Reconciliation is dead" and other slogans, indicating that, like the others, this protest is in support of a smattering of indigenous agitators who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline in Northern British Columbia. The fact that Coastal GasLink is supported by the elected representatives of the Wet'suwet'en -- and in fact all of the elected band councils along the pipeline's route -- is apparently easily dismissed by the protesters, if they are aware of it at all. They have other things on their minds. Those at today's blockade, for example, complained to Global News about being called protesters, suggesting that they instead be called protectors or defenders of the land. The Alberta government used another term altogether, with Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer declaring on Twitter that his province "will not be economic hostages to law-breaking extremists."
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