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Posted: January 8th, 2014 By BWM

#SwampLine9 Banner DropIn Ontario, a group of activists have dug in to halt the construction of Line 9, a pipeline that would transport toxic diluted bitumen from the Alberta Tar Sands through communities and watersheds, as well as First Nations, which have not been consulted, nor consented to the pipeline crossing their land. Opposition to the pipeline has been steadily building since June. The facebook page for #SwampLine9 has the most current information, as well as this tumblr, updated often.

Vanessa Gray, Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia Against Pipelines is quoted as saying “The health of Aamjiwnaang is suffering from the effects from Canada’s Chemical Valley as a result of Environmental Racism. We need to act now in defence of the land we depend on before Enbridge permanently destroys our territories. This is a human rights issue that effects future generations of all peoples.” Facts from he facebook include:

Every First Nations band council that intervened in the NEB process said that they had not been consulted in accordance to the Canadian consultation. [1] Enbridge refuses to carry $1 billion in insurance to cover the costs of a possible spill, arguing that it is unnecessary. Meanwhile, clean up for Enbridge’s Kalamazoo disaster has cost over $1 billion in an area with a population of 7,000. [2] Richard Kuprewicz, a pipeline safety expert with over forty years of experience in the energy sector, says the probability of Line 9 rupturing is “over 90%.” [3]

Yesterday Trish Mills entered into a plea on the charge of mischief. She was charged for her part in stopping construction at an Enbridge oil station for 6 days. The court did not allow her to make her statement to the gallery, so it was posted on the #SwampLine9 tumblr here.  It read:

Today I plead guilty to the charge of mischief.

It is a charge I received for interrupting operations at an Enbridge oil pumping station for a total of six days.

I accept responsibility for my actions, and all which that entails.

My understanding is that this is the type of personal accountability the court wishes to hear.

That said, it is this same moral strength which saw me charged in the first place.

I believe in honouring the land, water and all living things, and that they deserve our respect and protection.

I believe that the communities, treaties and teachings of first nations people deserve our reverence.

Enbridge’s line 9 is a risk to all of these things – both here in Ontario and in a broader context so I see my actions this past summer was nothing less than a harmony between my actions and my principles.

I believe in what I did then and I believe in it now, and I understand that that is not what the court wishes to hear.

But this action was one of necessity, borne of a failed and exclusionary regulatory process. Other means were tried, and failed, because today’s political climate encourages the exploitation of land, water and people.

I know that it would be easier –and safer – to stand here and lie. To show full remorse and voice regret as I’ve been told to do. But I can’t’ do that because, no matter what sentence is handed down today, I have to be able to live with my actions and their implications.

This isn’t to say I have no regrets at all; I have several.

I regret that this action may have put some people of Westover in a difficult situation.

I regret if an individual was hurt by my actions.

I especially regret that action like this must be taken at all, and that people are being criminalized for defending such fundamental things.

And so in making a decision about sentencing today, I wish to remind the court that despite a lack of remorse I have consideration fir others. I do positive things for people and my community through activism, education, advocacy and volunteer work.

I aim to work in animal rescue, and have deferred acceptance into a program.

There was also no person hurt by my actions – physically or financially. It is Enbridge policy to pay their workers in these situations.

Finally, I gained no extrinsic reward for my actions, however I did risk -and I stand here risking – plenty.

My journey these past months has been both interesting and challenging, though not impossible. I have learned much.

To my supporters here today –in case for some reason I can’t tell you later – take note.

NOT. Impossible.

There may not ever be any real victory in the courts, but there is always victory in doing what you feel is right.

Don’t give up.

No tarsands. No line 9.

On Thursday January 9th, 2014 Gary Wassaykeesic will be taking his charge from Swamp Line 9 to trial. Gary is a first nations activist initially charged with “break & enter” for asserting his indigenous sovereignty on native land.

John Sopinka Courthouse
45 Main St. East.
Hamilton, ON
9:00AM EST

For further information on #SwampLine9:

Check out the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SwampLine9
Follow the hashtag #SwampLine9
Or check out the tumblr: http://swampline9.tumblr.com/

NO PIPELINES. NO TARSANDS. NO LINE 9.

 

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