This past month saw increased resistance to the Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline reversal project across Ontario. On July 14th, protestors shut down a construction site in Etobicoke. The Line 9 pipeline runs through several proletarian neighbourhoods in Toronto including Rexdale, Jane and Finch and East York. It runs under a number of schools, workplaces, homes and even Finch subway station.
While the line 9 pipeline has existed for some time, transporting oil from Montréal down to refineries in Sarnia, it was just recently that Enbridge was approved by the National Energy Board to proceed with the flow reversal, as well as the transportation of the much heavier Alberta tar sands crude—increasing the capacity from 240,000 to 300,000 barrels per day.
Activists on site claim that so called “integrity digs,” like at the Etobicoke site, are Enbridge’s way of putting a bandaid on the issue but will not make the pipeline safe for our communities. They call attention to over 13,000 instances of cracks, fissures and corrosion along the pipeline, and cite international experts who claim that there is a 90% chance that the pipeline will rupture within five years.
Meanwhile, First Nations protesters from Six Nations and allies blockaded an Enbridge construction site near North Dumfries, ON on July 17th. Protestors indicated that they were not consulted on this project and that Enbridge has no right to proceed on Haudenosaunee territory without their consent. From the beginning of this opposition, Indigenous people have been on the front lines of this struggle, solidifying their commitment to protect waterways and ecologically vulnerable lands across the pipeline area.
Since the Energy Board approved Enbridge’s project back in March, over 600 people have signed a “pledge of resistance” to support or engage in civil disobedience to stop the reversal project, up to and including arrest. This indicates an increased militancy amongst the masses in opposing corporate greed and environmental racism as well as growing solidarity amongst working class and First Nations people against the forces of capitalism. If you would like to get involved in the movement in Toronto, you are encouraged to visit www.stopline9-toronto.ca.