OmniTrax and the Federal government started what is expected to be a long and drawn out court battle today.
The government is suing Denver-based OmniTrax for breach of contrac, after the company failed to maintain, and repair, the rail line to Churchill following flooding last spring.
In response to the lawsuit, Omnitrax said it was challenging Ottawa under the North American Free Trade Agreement, specifically the section meant to protect foreign investors from discrimination. They say that the government sabotaged efforts by the company to repair and transfer ownership of the line.
It’s reported that OmniTrax is seeking $150M in damages, while Ottawa is asking for $18M.
Despite the fact that an end to the situation is nowhere in sight, there are two rays of light for the residents of Churchill.
The first is that Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings is still in talks with Missinippi Rail and One North with the intent being to buy the port and rail line. The second ray of light is that the winter road from Gillam to Churchill has now been open for over two weeks, allowing much need supplies to reach the community.