Around 3500 people crowded onto the front lawn of BC`s Legislature yesterday in a protest against the Northern Gateway pipeline and reintroduction of supertanker traffic into coast islands. Environmentalists, First Nations and even municipalities have joined the fight against the controversial pipeline which has become incredibly unpopular over the past year. The proposed twin-pipe route would link BC`s northern coast with Alberta`s Tar Sands, and cut accross the province`s north to connect with Kitimat coast to export dilbit and import natural gas condensate, crossing multiple First Nations reservations and the Great Bear Rainforest.

Hamilton city council hears vocal opposition to Enbridge plans
By Tim Groves
Originally Published on The Toronto Media Co-op

Dozens of environmentalists gathered at Hamilton, Ontario’s City Hall to protest a major pipeline project, know as the Enbridge Line 9 reversal, on Wednesday October 17th. They gathered outside and then made deputations at a city council meeting where a report on the project was being presented to councilors.

The pipeline currently brings oil from Montreal to Sarnia, Ontario, passing through Hamilton along the way. Environmentalists fear that the plan to change the direction of flow would allow tar sands oil to be pumped to the east coast for export—a claim which Enbridge denies.

In May 2012, opponents of the reversal disrupted a National Energy Board (NEB) hearing on whether to allow the project. The NEB later approved the project.

Since then opposition has been growing in First Nations communities and Southern Ontario cities. Last month a speaking tour of First Nation women spoke about the pipeline in several venues across the region.

“I think it is a disaster waiting to happen, to allow Enbridge to pump diluted bitumen through this pipeline,” said Ken Stone, a member of, to Hamilton city council. “It is important for councilors to think what would happen if the pipeline burst.”

In 2010 a pipeline very similar to Line 9 ruptured in Kalamazoo Michigan, spilling 3 million liters of diluted bitumen into the Kalamzoo River.

A smaller pipeline rupture took place in Hamilton in 2001, spilling 95,000 liters into a farmer field.

Although opponents of the pipeline acknowledged that with federal slashing of environmental reviews processes it is important for municipalities to study the impacts of the pipeline, they were disappointed with Hamilton city staff’s analysis.

“In the report they don’t talk about the climate change once, or the detrimental effects of the tar sands,” said activist Elysia Petrone. She believes the city staff simply agreed with the NEB findings.

“I think Enbridge is being dishonest and not explaining what their true intentions are.”

Enbridge was invited to speak to Hamilton’s council about the matter, but they rescheduled twice before finally cancelling their appearance. However, several councilors said Enbridge had approached them personally in off-the-record discussions.

After hearing from opponents to the plan, several city councilors voiced their fears about the pipeline project. City staff admitted they too had concerns but said the chances of a spill were unlikely and that the City of Hamilton did not have a lot of influence over the project.

“My community is already heavily destroyed from industry; we don’t need any more,” said Vanessa Gray, a First Nations youth from Aamjiwnaang, a community just outside of Sarnia, Ontario, who traveled to Hamilton for the protest.

“It is important that those on the front lines come out to support each other,” she told the Toronto Media Co-op.

The first phase of the project will reverse the pipeline between Sarnia and Hamilton.

However, the campaign against the pipeline reversal is expected to grow, as the second phase of the project will see the reverse the flow of the pipeline between Hamilton and Montreal, and will pass through several cities including Toronto, the largest metropolis in the country.

Tim Groves is an investigative researcher and journalist based in Toronto. He can be reached at timgrovesreports [@] For more information on his work and writing, click here.

Wednesday morning council received the staff report on Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline reversal, as well as hearing from citizens on the issue. A few dozen protesters rallied first along Main St in front of City Hall, then filed inside the gallery. No conclusions were reached, but a very interesting discussion ensued, with staff sent to research further about the pipeline and possibilities for opposing it.

Though Enbridge decided to cancel at the last minute, eight citizens stepped up to address council, all opposed to the project. John McGreal spoke about the legacy of Binbrook’s oil spill a decade ago, which burst from Line 10. Ken Stone floated legal ideas, such as banning pipelines over 30 years old, the transmission of tar sands oil or requring it to be upgraded and refined in Canada. Janet Chase floated the possibility of requiring a bond from Enbridge, an idea which seemed to gain a lot of traction with councillors. Maggie Hughes (The Other Side on CFMU) showed footage and talked about the legacy of the Kalamazoo dilbit spill. Elysia Petrone (Hamilton 350) spoke about Harper’s budget omnibus bill exempting this project from environmental assessments. Don McLean (CATCH, Hamilton 350) and Lynda Lukasik (Environment Hamilton) spoke about the connections to the Tar Sands and climate change, especially given the enormous cost we’re now suffering from the recent wave of severe storms and flooding. Wes Elliot, Ruby Montour (Six Nations) and Danielle Boisseau were unable to attend.

Reaction from councillors was mixed, but honestly better than I’d expected. Brenda Johnson asked if there were options to challenge the reversal at the Ontario Municipal Board or Federation of Canadian Municipalities, as well as asking about permits for current digs to check pipeline integrity. Maria Pearson suggested making a statement for the record, even if council’s hands were “tied”. Judi Partridge raised questions about the Emergency Plan and Brian McHattie raised again the issue of environmental assessments. Lloyd Ferguson suggested getting a professional engineer’s opinion, and stated that Enbridge had told him the pipeline’s oil wouldn’t be coming from Alberta. Mayor Bratina’s comments were perhaps most poignant, pointed a finger at Harper then brought the issue back to our own practices and suggesting that if we really wished to stop this kind of oil flow, we should look into an urban boundary freeze and end Aerotropolis plans (both good suggestions, even if they avoid the issue). Staff responded that so far, proposals haven’t mentioned “dilbit” or pressures capable of transporting it, and that there’s few options on the table to obstruct Enbridge, even if council should decide to. At the end, discussions broke for lunch, unresolved, with staff sent to research further.

Given the current climate in Federal politics, it isn’t surprising that municipalities are shut almost entirely out of these matters. Despite all the public and private lands this pipeline crosses in our city, there’s no meaningful consultation council or residents. In these matters, the National Energy Board seemingly holds all the power. This is the legacy of the “streamlined” approval processes Harper is implementing, and we’re now getting to see first-hand what that means for public input in the communities involved. Whoever makes these decisions, we’ll still be the ones to suffer if anything goes wrong.

While I still hold out a little hope for a sympathetic motion from council, it’s fairly clear at this point that municipal politicians are just as out-of-the-loop as the rest of us. Addressing council, though, was still was an important step. Not only did it bring some much-needed attention, but also showed that opponents are willing to engage with “the system” where possile. Most of all, it was an important demonstration of how much authority has been given to Enbridge and the NEB, effectively cutting entire municipalities out of the process. If opposition is going to continue (and it will), it must now look toward the grassroots. Ordinary people are not limited by the rules of intergovernmental hierarchies, and a motion from Council would mean little, anyway, without a much broader show of community support. This pipeline has seen very little public discussion so far, and most people still aren’t aware it cuts through our backyard. The tasks ahead are education, investigation, networking and ever-more demonstrations (like this Sunday’s protest ride) to raise the issue’s profile, both within Hamilton and beyond. Like the Keystone XL and Northern Gateway pipelines, this route can be stopped, and it will be, if cities like Hamilton decide to stand against it.

Originally posted on

Rally This Wednesday

Posted: October 13, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

9am, Wednesday October 17th
Hamilton City Hall (Main st, between Bay and McNab)
Join us for a half-hour rally before your workday starts

On Wednesday October 17, the General Issues Committee (GIC) of the Hamilton city council will be receiving a report from their staff about Enbridge’s reversal of their Line 9 pipeline. Line 9 runs through Hamilton and is being reversed to move Tar Sands oil to eastern Canada, ports on the Atlantic, and the United States. After the Conservative federal government cancelled the envrionmental assessment of this plan (along with thousands of other EAs), Hamilton city council decided to commission their own study of the issue.

We are optimistic about the council’s decision to study the Line 9 reversal, and we are gathering on the 17th at 9am to ask council to do everything in their power to oppose the Line 9 reversal and any attempt to move Tar Sands oil through the Hamilton area. We will rally until about 9:30, then attend the meeting of the GIC to support the speakers calling on council to oppose the Line 9 reversal. A representative from Enbridge had been scheduled to address council as well, but after twice changing the date, they have now backed out all together. This is a continuation of
Enbridge’s plan of secrecy and dishonesty, as they refuse to reveal their full plan for Line 9.

The Tar Sands produces the dirtiest oil in the world – its extraction has devastated the Athabaska river, and accidents in transporting the toxic gloop have lead to more than a dozen deaths in Michigan, following a
pipeline burst into Michigan’s Kalamazoo river. All pipelines spill. If Tar Sands oil travels down Line 9, this thirty-five year-old pipeline will experience more frequent leaks of more toxic oil directly into the Beverly
Swamp in the headwaters of the Spencer Creek, Hamilton’s largest watershed.

This dirty, inefficient oil also drives the catastrophic climate change, of which Hamilton got a taste this past summer with the record-breaking heat and drought. We also call for the Federal government to respect the sovereignty and treaty rights of Indigenous nations, both in Alberta and locally. Line 9 crosses the territory of the Haudenosaunee, and in the spirit of the Two Row wampum treaty, we call on the municipal government to help see these treaties upheld.

We organize in Hamilton as part of a broader movement to stop the flows of Tar Sands oil, of the natural gas that fuels its extraction, and the money that props the industry up. This movement did not begin with Hamilton’s council and it will not end with it. But this is a chance for Hamilton’s government to be on the right side of this issue and to lend their support to the grassroots struggles that will keep stopping the Line 9 reversal and the Tar Sands – with or without them.

Please Pass Along

Ride to the Westover Terminal

Posted: October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

Westover Terminal

On Sunday October 21st, in association with Hamilton350 we’re hosting a bike ride to the nearest Line 9 landmark, the Westover Terminal. Starting at 10:00am in front of My Dog Joe in Westdale (King and Paisley), we’ll ride out through Dundas and Flamborough to rally in front of the Enbridge facility. Maps and a support vehicle will be provided for riders, and don’t worry, there will be frequent rest stops.

For those not up for cycling, we’re encouraging people to rally at Westover Park (Google Map Link in front of the Terminal just west of Westover on 6th Concession, starting at 12:00 Noon. Email us at if you need a ride or have free spaces in your car.

Join Us at City Hall

Posted: October 4, 2012 in Uncategorized

At 9am on Wednesday, October 17th, the General Issues Committee of City Council will be receiving a report on the Line 9 Pipeline reversal, with a growing number of community members already slated to speak. A petition will also be presented against the pipeline. It appears Enbridge has (again) cancelled their appearance, but that’s no reason to let this valuable chance to speak to Council pass us by. We’re encouraging everyone to come out to the meeting – to sign up and speak, fill the gallery or rally with us outside City Hall to oppose this pipeline.

Sign the Petition
A Call-out for Support

When: Friday, Oct. 5, 2012
Where: 50 Market St., Brantford Ontario

Indigenous communities are taking the lead to stop the largest industrial project on Earth and Northern Alberta is ground zero with over 20 corporations operating in the tar sands sacrifice zone, with expanded developments being planned. The cultural heritage, land, ecosystems and health of Indigenous communities including those in the Athabasca, Peace River and Cold Lake regions of Alberta are being sacrificed for oil money in what has been termed a “slow industrial genocide”. Infrastructure projects linked to the tar sands expansion such as the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, Kinder Morgan pipeline, Enbridge Line 9 reversal, and the Keystone XL pipeline threaten Indigenous communities across Turtle Island particularly Aamjiwnaang First Nation and the Haudenausaunee Confederacy here in Southern Ontario.

To build ties of solidarity and resistance, and to create a broad base on informed support, a speakers’ series is being organized in Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver) and in Ontario.

Crystal Lameman is a Beaver Lake Cree First Nation activist and the Peace River tar sands campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network in Alberta. Crystal is committed to restoring Native treaty rights and stopping the exploitation of the tar sands.

Melissa Elliott is co-founder of Young Onkwehonwe United, and a youth activist from the Haudenosaunee Territory of Six Nations. Known to most as Missy, she has organized to defend Kanonhstaton (the former Douglas Creek Estates), and to stop development projects on Six Nations territory being pushed through without their consent such as the Line 9 reversal project.

Vanessa Gray is a youth organizer from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, a community that has been named the most polluted place in North America by the National Geographic Society. She founded Green Teens, a environmental justice organization of Native youth to resist the impact of the 63 petrochemical refineries in her hometown and is an active campaigner for the rights of Indigenous people across these lands.

Suzanne Dhaliwal is the co-founder of the UK Tar Sands Network, which works in solidarity with the Indigenous Environmental network to campaign against UK corporations and financial institutions invested in the Alberta Tar Sands.

Moderated by Heather Milton-Lightning from the Pasqua First Nation, Ruckus Society and the Indigenous Environmental Network.

This event is organized by the Indigenous Environmental Network. IEN is an alliance of grassroots Indigenous Peoples whose mission is to protect the sacredness of Mother Earth from contamination and exploitation by strengthening, maintaining, and respecting traditional teachings and natural laws.

It’s endorsed by the F-word collective, Live Free Collective and others.

For more information, to and endorse or to support, please write to
Facebook Event Page

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