Police were called to a downtown Montreal office building Wednesday after indigenous protesters shut down a public consultation over the Energy East pipeline.
Amanda Lickers says she was accompanied by about 25 people when she entered the meeting and interrupted proceedings.
“We told them that a pipeline will not pass through unceded (Mohawk) territory,” said Lickers, whose family is from Six Nations of the Grand River, in Ontario. “This project is in violation of our Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) principals and it violates a law that predates the colonial occupation of Canada.”
Though there are First Nations who support the $12 billion, 4,600 kilometre pipeline, a grassroots, indigenous resistance movement is gaining momentum across Canada. The project is set to pass through over 150 traditional aboriginal territories and TransCanada and some chiefs—like Kanesatake’s Serge Simon—say they’re prepared to set up blockades in its path.
In the meantime, the National Energy Board, which regulates Canada’s pipelines, is in the early stages of the public consultation process over the project. Wednesday’s meeting was hosted by the NEB and Montreal’s environmental assessment board at the Centre Mount Royal on Mansfield St.
The consultation meeting’s goal was to get citizens’ input for a report that would be presented before the NEB’s Energy East hearings next year. But many, including Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, question the objectivity of the NEB given that at least half of its board members were once employed by the energy sector.
Lickers said that while the interruption was peaceful, it managed to end the consultation and the few participants who didn’t walk out of the building joined the protesters in chanting, “No consent, no pipelines,” as they exited the room. She says there was about 50 people at the meeting.
No arrests were made and consultation meetings are set to continue next week in Laval. Things may not be easier there given that mayor Marc Demers denounced the pipeline just two weeks ago.
Demers cited environmental concerns for his opposition to the project, inviting other municipalities to join suit.