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Sep 27, 21

Canadian Tire Fire #13: Fight to Defend Wet’suwet’en Territory Heats Up; Blockades in Montreal; Struggle Against TMX Pipeline Expands

This week, the struggle to defend the land and waters of Wet’suwet’en territory from pipeline construction heated up again. For the past week, pipeline workers have fallen trees and used excavators to destroy an ancient Wet’suwet’en village site. Then on September 25, the access road to Coastal GasLink’s drilling site was destroyed. The site, which was intended to allow workers to drill under the territory’s sacred headwaters, the Wedzin Kwa, was then occupied.

The Gidimt’en clan has put out an urgent call for supporters to join them on the Yintah, or to organize wherever they are in solidarity.

In Victoria, 5 people were arrested following a memorial for Chantal Moore, from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, who was killed by New Brunswick police last year. The arrests are related to an incident during the memorial, when a woman poured liquid onto a police chief attending.

Read on for more of this week’s news!

Blockade at Six Nations Forces Polling Station Off Reserve

Monday, August 20th, played host to Canada’s 44th federal election, which ended anti-climactically with the confirmation of the same Liberal minority government we had before. Across the country, not everyone was as excited about the spectacle as those most antsy to exercise their democratic right to vote. Indigenous people across the territory claimed by Canada hold a diversity of opinions and approaches to the question of participation in the elections for an occupying government.

In Six Nations territory, in the lead up to the election, the Chiefs and Clanmothers of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, the traditional government of the Haudenosaunee, urged “those involved to immediately remove the polling stations and elections materials from the territory.” When this was not heeded, as reported by Turtle Island News, a group of HCCC supporters from the community showed up to the polling station located at the Gathering Place and blocked all three entrances to the building.

Following negotiations between the protestors and Elections Canada staff, the polling station was moved to Oakland.

More Actions Target Ray-Mont Logistics in Montreal

A few weeks ago we shared the happy news that some heavy machinery owned by Ray-Mont Logistics was burned in Montreal. Ray-Mont Logistics is hoping to build a container yard in the Terrain Vague, a wasteland in the Eastern part of Montreal. The project is part of a multi-pronged port expansion that will see one of the last urban forested areas in Montreal destroyed.

Blockade at Ray-Mont Logistics container yard construction site. Source: Montreal Counter-Info

In the past few weeks, additional actions against the project have taken place, adding to the force of a struggle that has been fought for over a year now. On September 15th, according to a communiqué available only in French, “around 50 people forced a temporary work stoppage on the land where Ray-Mont Logistics hopes to construct their container yard.” The authors of the communique promise to continue to interrupt the work by all means possible and encourage others to do the same.

Blockade of Ray-Mont Logistics shipping yard. Source: Montreal Counter-Info

On September 22nd, Ray-Mont was targeted again. This time, the authors of another communique explain, the current shipping yard of Ray-Mont Logistics, located in the South west end of the city, was blockaded. The authors describe that the action blocked truck access to the site, interrupting the functioning of the current container yard.

As reads the communique:

Civil or not, disobedience and direct action allow us to confront together the destruction of the ecosystems of which we are a part and the theft of indigenous lands that continues to this day, whether it be through the construction of a pipeline, deforestation, the construction of a mine serving a so-called “green” industry or the transformation of a river into a “goods highway” as proposed by the CAQ’s maritime strategy, in which the Ray-Mont Logistique container yard project is included. It is more than time to concretely pose as an obstacle to development projects, to strengthen the links between us that allow us to act without resorting to politics — and to invite everyone who refuses capitalist and colonial domination to come together and organize.

We look forward to seeing where the struggle goes next!

The TMX and Continued Resistance

Land defenders in Burnaby raised themselves high into the tree tops over a year ago and around two weeks ago expanded their action by adding more “skypods” along the path of the TMX pipeline, in the Burnette River Conservation Area. This blockade was preceded by another on Homles Creek, which was removed in December 2020 due to a raid from TMX and a private police company. On September 22nd the RCMP started removing the people from the canopy.

Tiny House Warriors held a gathering September 10-14th, bringing people onto their camp and sharing food. During this gathering it seems the security fence around the construction zone of a work camp was taken down. Multiple trucks carrying machinery were also slowed down with a red ribbon blocking the road. During that weekend there was also an altercation that took place between land defenders and TMX contractors and/or staff. 5 land defenders were arrested by the cops.

The combination of different forms of resistance has pushed the completion date for the pipeline back at least 2-3 years so far and last week the TMX took another blow when one company that was insuring the existing 68 year old pipeline pulled out. Chubb Canada was quoted by a Financial Times correspondent saying: “Chubb does not provide insurance coverage for any tar sands projects.” With continued, dedicated resistance, it seems TMX expansion could yet be ground to a halt.

Climate Strike Actions Across So-Called Canada

On Friday September 24th, “climate strike” actions took place in cities across so-called Canada. The day marked the first continuation of the Fridays for Future series of actions since the beginning of the pandemic.

In Montreal, the Convergence des Luttes Anticapitalistes called for an anti-capitalist contingent, stating:

Whoever is in power after the elections, nothing significant will be done, nothing significant has ever been done for climate in so-called Canada. Since the beginning of colonization, the State steals, exploits and destroys the land on which we live and which, ironically, ensure our survival. It is however important to note that many political parties have clearly played their card: these political parties will continue to invest in pipelines and other ecocidal projects, until death do us part.

Though it could not be confirmed, some reports say that the Montreal march ended at an RCMP building, in solidarity with forest defenders in Fairy Creek. According to the Montreal Gazette, three people were arrested: for mischief, assault on a police officer and for threats.




Prison News Mini-Roundup

In Edmonton, the John Howard Society is calling for a criminal probe against the Edmonton Institution, a federal maximum-security prison. In a letter to the Edmonton Police, the group highlighted complaints from prisoners who have been cut off from medications for serious health conditions, and who allege that the prison is taking away medication as an informal means of punishment. The letter also outlined concerns about the use of solitary confinement. While solitary confinement was technically phased out of Canadian prisons in 2019, prisoners in “structured intervention units” report continuing to face solitary confinement conditions for weeks at a time. The Edmonton Institution has been the subject of multiple investigations based on allegations of staff misconduct, high rates of inmate self-harm, and accusations of excessive use of solitary confinement, among other issues.

In Ottawa, the Criminalization and Punishment Education Project (CPEP) shared a press release earlier this month, with an update on conditions at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre (OCDC). The release brought forward information gathered through prisoner calls to the Jail Accountability & Information Line, a volunteer-run hotline for those incarcerated at OCDC. One of the main complaints highlighted was the loss of programming, mental health supports, and time out of cells. As is the case in many prisons across so-called Canada, staffing shortages, increased lockdowns, and cuts to programming (along with losses of visits in many facilities) were at one time justified by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, over a year into the pandemic, institutions seem to have made little effort to find ways to restore things to pre-pandemic conditions, making pandemic conditions the new norm.

The press release also called attention to an ongoing lawsuit against the Ontario Ministry of the Solicitor General by a man named Deepan Budlakoti, who has been imprisoned at OCDC and awaiting sentencing since 2017. Mr. Budlakoti, an outspoken advocate for prisoners and those with precarious immigration status, is suing the government on the basis of violations to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A summary of his case stated “The issues the court proceedings will bring to light include segregation and solitary confinement, excessive force, dynamic entry, privacy relating to and access to medical services, food issues at the Ottawa courthouse and in jail, strip searches and mental health.” The trial has been ongoing throughout the month of September and will continue on October 1st.

In another example of the negative lasting impacts of “COVID measures,” earlier in September, the Montreal-based Prison Radio Show shared an update from the provincial Bordeaux Prison in Montreal. Their update stated “At least one sector of Bordeaux has been locked down except for 2 hours per day during the week and locked down 24/7 on the weekends for 4-5 months now.” and went on to explain that prisoners have been told this is happening for “security reasons” – potentially speaking to short-staffing and/or preventing the spread of COVID, despite the fact that many guards and prisoners are now vaccinated.

Finally, we mourn the death of a man who has not yet been named on September 21. He died in hospital after being found unresponsive in his cell in Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s, Newfoundland. CBC reported that he was “at least the sixth to die in a Newfoundland and Labrador jail in just over four years”. Following the death of four men in provincial prisons between 2017-2018, an independent report was completed by a retired Newfoundland provincial police superintendent to recommend solutions to the high fatality rate. The recommendations included building a new jail and creating mental health units in existing facilities – an insulting and doomed approach. Expanding prisons in any form, even by creating specialized or “friendlier” forms of incarceration, ultimately expands the prison system that can only be repaired by being destroyed.

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A weekly roundup of anarchist and anti-authoritarian news from so-called Canada. Email us at: [email protected]

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