Council chapters from London and Guelph came to Toronto today to join a large protest in solidarity with the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation who are appealing the National Energy Board’s approval of Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline which runs through southern Ontario and is set to carry tar sands diluted bitumen east for export.
Over a hundred people gathered outside of the federal court building and a giant two row wampum flag was unfurled and walked on to Queen St, stopping traffic for a few minutes.
The Chippewas court case centers on the lack of consultation with the community about Line 9 which crosses through the First Nation’s traditional territory and would massively impact its land and water in the case of a spill.
The Canadian Constitution, under Section 35, states that First Nations have a right to be consulted on projects that could negatively impact their land.
Yet neither Enbridge nor the government consulted with Chippewas of the Thames on the project and now the dangerous pipeline is planned to go online this June, possibly before the case is even heard in court.
A pipeline safety expert with over forty years of experience in the energy sector, Richard Kuprewicz, has stated that the probability of Line 9 rupturing is over 90% in the first five years of operation. This is due to the large number of fractures in the aging pipeline and the new, much heavier substance which has to be transported at a higher temperature and pressure.
With such a high probability of a spill, it is absolutely crucial that all 18 First Nations along the line be consulted, including Chippewas of the Thames.
“Line 9 has been flowing light crude oil through Chippewas of the Thames traditional territory for 40 years without our consent. It is time for industry and governments to honour the treaties and wampum belt agreements. Indigenous nations and all residents of Canada are responsible for the safety of our Mother Earth!” – Myeengun Henry, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation