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Mass rally builds movement against Line 9

By: 
Jesse McLaren

October 21, 2013

On October 19 hundreds marched against Line 9 in Toronto, the culmination of a week of protest during the National Energy Board hearings, which has added new momentum to the fight against tar sands pipelines.
 
No tar sands, no pipelines
The tar sands devastate indigenous communities at sites of production and refining, send leaky pipelines across the continent, and contribute to global warming pushing us towards climate catastrophe. For years there has been growing opposition to the tar sands, led by indigenous communities most affected. In the past year there have been mass rallies--uniting indigenous, environmental and labour movements--against the Northern Gateway pipeline going west, and the Keystone XL pipeline going south.
 
Learning from these movements, there has been growing opposition for the past year against Line 9--an old pipeline that Enbridge wants to use to pump toxic tar sands east, through the most densely-populated corridor in the country. Indigenous activists from Ammjiwnaang First Nation have built local opposition to Line 9, and spoken at Toronto neighbourhood and campus events; there has been an occupation at a Line 9 pumping station, petitions across the city, and a concert with Sarah Harmer.
 
No Line 9
The hearings of the National Energy Board (NEB), during the second week of October in Toronto, became a focal point for activism--exposing the anti-democratic and oil-friendly NEB through mass opposition both inside and outside the hearings. Inside the hearings people made their case against Line 9 through deputations and protests, causing the NEB to end its hearings early. Outside the hearings there were movie screenings, teach-ins and a mass rally.
 
Despite the rain and the NEB shutting down, hundreds marched through Toronto--including buses from Aamjiwnaang, Hamilton, Guelph, Peterborough, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Kingston. There were contingents of indigenous, environmental, labour, student, and faith groups. Though signs, chants and speeches people connected their opposition to Line 9 with indigenous sovereignty, reproductive justice, climate change, the fight for green jobs and solidarity with Elsipogtog. The mood was both festive, with diverse musical acts, as well as urgent--as news broke that the same day another train derailment, CN Rail's third derailment within a month, spilled fiery crude in Alberta
 
The next steps against Line 9 include broadening neighbourhoods, campus and labour opposition, including at next month's OFL convention; urging politicians to speak out, including during the upcoming Toronto-centre by-election; and increasing solidarity for indigenous communities leading the movement for climate justice.

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