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Montreal, Thunder Bay & Powell River chapters support struggle against Dakota Access pipeline

Thunder Bay chapter.

Powell River chapter.

Council of Canadians chapters continue to support the struggle against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The pipeline would carry up to 570,000 barrels per day of fracked oil from North Dakota to Illinois. It would cross 200 waterways, including the Missouri River, which is upstream of Lake Oahe, the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s main source of drinking water, and the Mississippi River.

On December 5, Democracy Now! reported, “In an historic win for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and the environment, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline, a permit to drill underneath Lake Oahe on the Missouri River—officially halting construction on the Dakota Access pipeline.” That said, President-elect Donald J. Trump is a vocal supporter of the pipeline and it is expected that this issue will intensify once again soon after his inauguration on January 20, 2017.

On December 10, the Montreal chapter attended a Concert for the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. Chapter activist Abdul Pirani tells us, “A benefit concert in support of the Standing Rock Sioux nation was held in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue near John Abbott College. The Adair Hall with more than 150 persons was full. Everyone had a good time and the fundraiser was a good success.” On December 7, the chapter also raised more than $50 through a collection at a regular chapter meeting to send to the water protectors assembled at Standing Rock.

On December 5, the Thunder Bay chapter took part in a round dance in support of Standing Rock organized by local Indigenous peoples. Chapter activist Ruth Cook tells us, “There were at least 100 people at the event, which was held in the centre of one of the main intersections in Thunder Bay. The police had arranged to divert the traffic and the event went really well. There was a lot of drumming, traditional singing, jingle dancers, and group round dances. The father of the little girl who inspired Standing Rock spoke, as did a woman who spent two months with her son in the camp at Standing Rock.”

And on December 4, the Powell River chapter attended a rally for Standing Rock. Chapter activist Patricia Cocksedge tells us, “Over 75 people attended. Although there was great news about Standing Rock and the pipeline, no one should let their guard down. This rally produced an energy which will carry over to rallies and actions in Powell River regarding the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, and will continue to support Standing Rock if Trump changes the decision.”

The Council of Canadians first expressed its solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux on August 19 and since then our chapters in Regina, Chilliwack, Kent County, Montreal, Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, Prince Edward Island, Peterborough-Kawarthas, London, Victoria, Thunder Bay, and Powell River, along with staff in Vancouver and Ottawa, have participated in solidarity actions.

On October 30, we sent 1000 pairs of earplugs to the water protectors at Standing Rock given they have been subjected to police use of sound cannons that cause great pain and permanent hearing loss. We have also provided some support to assist Indigenous allies to travel from Manitoba and Nova Scotia to Standing Rock as well as to enable them to bring back reports to inform campaigns against the Energy East, Trans Mountain, Line 3 and other pipelines.