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Camp Line 9 Building Anti-Tar Sands Movement in Quebec

Proposed Pipeline Projects Connecting the Resistance

by David Gray-Donald

A workshop at the camp. (Photo: Yohann Ducasse)
A workshop at the camp. (Photo: Yohann Ducasse)

Camp Line 9 is happening right now and is part of the growing opposition to transportation of tar sands oil through Quebec. Located on traditional Kanienkehaka (Mohwak) land that is now a spruce tree nursery in St. Andre d’Argenteuil, QC, near the Ottawa River northwest of Montreal, it began on September 20 and continues until October 4. Organized by many of the same people involved in the 34 day, 700 km La Marche des Peuples pour la Terre Mère (Peoples’ Walk for Mother Earth), this past weekend saw over 100 people gather from all over Quebec and as far as Aamjiwnaang (near Sarnia, ON). Many of the attendees are affiliated with farms, citizens groups, NGOs, universities, and independent media.

The name Camp Line 9 is partly in reference to Enbridge’s 38-year old oil pipeline, Line 9, that passes under the cedar nursery hosting the camp. And it is partly in solidarity with the blockades Dam Line 9 and Swamp Line 9 that happened in Ontario in recent months to slow Enbridge’s work. The pipeline company has been approved by the National Energy Board to reverse the flow of its pipeline to carry coarse diluted bitumen from Alberta to the Montreal area for export via tankers on the St. Lawrence. Enbridge has not yet resolved their legal proceedings with the Chippewa of the Thames nation, nor have they completed all the mandated safety digs on structurally unsound sections of the 38-year old pipeline. Without resolving these legal and safety processes, Enbridge has announced it intends to begin pumping tar sands oil through Line 9 from west to east to Montreal beginning October 15.

Enbridge’s operations are one focus of the camp. Transcanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline, the largest proposed tar sands pipeline on the continent which has already been built to Cornwall (at the southwest border of Quebec), is another major focus. The petro-plan of Canada and ways to wean ourselves off fossil fuels are other focal points.

Opposition to pipelines in Quebec is as yet not as widespread as in British Columbia, but it is growing, and Energy East is the great connector. The recent victory in the courts halting Transcanada’s work in Cacouna on a potential port for the pipeline has added energy and confidence to the movement. Citizens groups have been mobilizing and together building from their experiences in the anti-fracking movement of a couple years ago. A huge demographic of young people have experience with protests and police after the largely successful tuition movement of 2012 and are becoming involved.

The Canadian government and the oil industry are continuing their decades-old campaign to get the oil out of Alberta as fast as possible. West of Alberta in BC people have been successfully resisting pipeline construction, as have people south of the border in the US. This has slowed the development of the tar sands. While Enbridge’s Line 9 is already in the ground and there is a sense of defeatism in resisting its plans to begin pumping Alberta oil out of it for export, people have not given up. And if Enbridge thinks it is having a hard time getting its way, then Trancanada, which has yet to begin construction, is going to have to put up a hell of a fight to get one inch of its planned pipeline built in Quebec.


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Topics: Environment

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David Gray-Donald (David Gray-Donald)
montreal and toronto
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