Indigenous protesters again block entrance to Pinery Provincial Park

Maynard T. George is leader of the Indigenous family group claiming ownership of Pinery Provincial Park. (Submitted by Colin Graf)

Protester Maynard George says the action is connected to a First Nations claim to the land

Indigenous protesters are again blocking the entrance to the Pinery Provincial Park, an action they say stems from a longstanding dispute over First Nations claims to the park on the shores of Lake Huron.

Maynard George of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation told CBC news that he and about four other protesters have pulled into the park’s front entrance in a trailer, preventing visitors from entering the park.

He said Pinery staff told people using the park to leave. As of Monday evening, about 10 trailers have already left, said George.

“We’ve moved in, we’ve taken up our residency here,” said George. “And we’ve shut down the park permanently. We’re in a position where we have to do something to resolve the claim.”

​George was involved in a similar action that ended in November with the park re-opening.

He said the protesters’ claim to the land stretches back to the War of 1812.

The park’s superintendent would not comment on the situation.

Indigenous protesters say they are again blocking the entrance to the Pinery Provincial Park. (Submitted by Colin Graf)

No court action

George’s lawyer Wanda Corston said for now, there are no plans to file any official court claim. She said the OPP have spoken to George about the protest.

“They’ve decided to take over the park with regard to some claims they have,” said Corston. She said for now, there has been no action to file a claim in any court.

“There’s no legal position at this point in time, we just hope the claims can be settled in an amicable way,” she said.

Ministry response

George said police were present in the park on Monday, but that they are only there to maintain order. He said there have been no arrests or confrontations.

In a statement to CBC News, a spokersperson for the Ministry of Natural Resources said, “Ontario Parks is working toward a resolution to this situation – we are engaging with the individuals, their counsel and police to better understand their claims.”

George said he intends to stay at the park. It’s unclear for how long.

CBC News Posted: Mar 19, 2018



Judge grants Trans Mountain injunction preventing blockades at terminals in Burnaby

(Source: Camp cloud at km surveillance post/Facebook)

A Supreme Court Justice has granted Trans Mountain an interim injunction aimed at preventing anti-pipeline activists from using blockades at two terminals in Burnaby, B.C.

The energy giant filed an injunction on Friday a day ahead of a public demonstration to protest its controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline project.

The Globe and Mail reports the company listed 15 individuals, along with John Doe, Jane Doe and “persons unnamed” in a notice of civil claim as part of its request to restrict protesters from coming within 50 metres of the facilities.

Justice Kenneth Affleck agreed with that condition and said the injunction will last until Wednesday, when a hearing on the matter will continue.

According to Metro News, the injunction is not meant to affect protest on public lands, but will apply to blockades of lands owned by Trans Mountain.

Protesters have repeatedly blocked access to the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby to prevent workers from getting in and out of the site.

Protesters of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project block access to workers at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. (Cory Correia/CBC News)

A Kinder Morgan spokesperson said “Trans Mountain supports the right to peaceful and lawful expressions of opinions and understand not everyone agrees with the project.”

Since Trudeau’s approval, there has been opposition in British Columbia, where the pipeline is fiercely opposed by First Nations and environmentalists worried about oil spills.

Indigenous activists will be marching on Saturday alongside environmental groups, local residents and other supporters in Burnaby, against plans to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The expansion would increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil a day.

The City of Burnaby and the City of Vancouver have opposed the project.

BIV reports, the 15 protestors named in the injunction, and their aliases, are: David Mivasair, Bina Salimath, Mia Nissen, Corey Skinner (aka Cory Skinner), Uni Urchin (aka Jean Escueta), Arthur Brociner (aka Artur Brociner), Kari Perrin, Yvon Raoul, Earle Peach, Sandra Ang, Reuben Garbanzo (aka Robert Abbess) Gordon Cornwall, Thomas Chan, Laurel Dykstra and Rudi Leibik (aka Ruth Leibik).

The injunction will not stop the protest from going ahead.

The rally and march begins Saturday at 10:45 a.m. at the Lake City Way SkyTrain station in Burnaby.

Trans Mountain pipeline protest in Coquitlam, B.C. sees 2 arrested

A protester holds a feather while standing on a piece of contruction equipment Thursday. Police arrested two people at the demonstration. (Shane MacKichan)

Police say 22-year-old woman, 23-year-old man arrested

Two people have been arrested following a protest against the Trans Mountain pipeline in Coquitlam, B.C.

RCMP say nine people were peacefully protesting Thursday but police were called in when the protesters began blocking equipment and highway traffic.

Protesters said in an email that they “physically intervened” and forced construction to a halt on the Trans Mountain pipeline.

RCMP say in a news release that a 22-year-old woman, who locked herself to a piece of machinery, and a 23-year-old man were arrested.

The man was later released without charge and police are recommending a charge of mischief against the woman, who they say is an Ontario resident.

Police say the protest was not violent and no one was injured.

A protester is led away by a police officer Thursday from a demonstration against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline (Shane MacKichan)

The Canadian Press


First Nations Launching Call for Mass Demonstration to Protest Trans Mountain

A sign protesting the path of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion hangs outside a trailer in Burnaby, B.C., on Jan. 10.

First Nations communities and their supporters are planning to ratchet up on-the-ground resistance to Kinder Morgan Inc.’s planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline with a call for a mass demonstration on Burnaby Mountain in March.

Members of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation – which is challenging the federal approval in court – is launching a campaign of volunteer recruitment and training Tuesday through a network of allied Indigenous communities and environmental groups.

“The spiritual leaders are calling for a mass mobilization,” Rueben George, project manager for the Sacred Trust, which was established by the Tsleil-Waututh to oppose the $7.4-billion pipeline project.

“We want to rally support and bring out the facts of the destruction [the project] will cause and who really benefits.”

The planned action could escalate into confrontation as opponents of the project are determined to stop construction, said Chief Bob Chamberlain, vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

“I can see [protesters] doing whatever it takes” to stop the project, he said. “This is going to escalate to a place that the government doesn’t anticipate. We hope for peaceful, non-violent action but people are going to rise up to the challenge.”

Opponents of the pipeline expansion demonstrated on Burnaby Mountain three years ago, and more than 100 people were arrested for refusing police orders to disperse. Smaller protests have sprung up in recent months around Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby terminal, as the company continues to obtain permits from the B.C. government for preconstruction activity.

On Tuesday, the Tsleil Waututh will put out a call to allied nations and supporters of environmental organization, with organizers saying their network will reach some 200,000 Canadians.

The planned pipeline expansion has sparked an interprovincial battle between the British Columbia government, which opposes the project, and Alberta, which argues its oil industry desperately needs access to Pacific Rim markets in order to receive world prices for its crude.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Nanaimo, B.C., last week defending his government’s decision to approve the project that he insists is in the national interest, while pledging to protect the coast from risks of a spill because of increased tanker traffic.

At an energy conference in Ottawa, several industry speakers said the Trans Mountain project is a key marker for the Liberal government, arguing that Ottawa’s response in the face of opposition will determine whether Canada can complete controversial resource projects.

Mr. Trudeau should not leave Alberta to lead the defence of the project that Ottawa has declared to be in the national interest, said Martha Hall Findlay, president of Calgary-based Canada West Foundation. Instead, Ottawa must send a strong message that neither protesters nor the B.C. government will be allowed to derail the expansion, she told the Energy Council of Canada meeting.

At the town hall session in Nanaimo last week, the Prime Minister was jeered when he defended the government’s decision.

“It is in the national interest to move forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline and we will be moving forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline,” Mr. Trudeau told a rowdy crowd.

“We will also protect the B.C. coast,” he said. However, he added that the Liberal’s vaunted $1.5-billion ocean-protection plan was contingent on the pipeline proceeding, a statement viewed as a threat by pipeline opponents.

Chief Chamberlain complained that the Prime Minister is “holding the ocean-protection plan hostage” to the pipeline project.

The government is failing in its pledge of reconciliation by approving the Trans Mountain expansion project over the objections of several local First Nation communities, he said. The government has committed to respecting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes the principle that First Nations people be afforded the right to free, prior and informed consent over projects that impact their traditional territory.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr has said the UN principle provides for fuller consultation and partnership over decision-making, but does not provide any one Indigenous community with a veto over a project that is in the national interest.

The Globe and Mail


Emergency measures, Military support: Documents reveal heightened concern about Muskrat Falls security

The last of seven transformers for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project rolls through at the gate in late August 2017. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Military provided lodging, meals as police mobilized in the face of more Muskrat Falls-related protests

The Canadian military quietly assisted during a large deployment of police officers to Labrador in 2017 amid fears of more protests about the controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project.

Documents obtained by CBC News through an access to information request reveal that the Canadian Armed Forces provided lodging and food at 5 Wing Goose Bay, but stopped well short of giving operational support during a politically sensitive period when officials feared protests may get out of control.

Declaring an emergency

The documents also highlight the extreme level of concern about the movement of massive transformers overland from Cartwright to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, months after protests that disrupted the construction site in central Labrador.

This aerial photo shows one of the Muskrat Falls transformers being transported across Labrador in summer 2017. (Nalcor)

In one letter, Newfoundland and Labrador’s Justice and Public Safety Minister, Andrew Parsons, invokes emergency measures and directs the RCMP to deploy officers “to the extent necessary” to maintain law and order.

“I recognized that it may be necessary to invoke article 9.2 and to seek additional resources by drawing RCMP personnel from neighbouring provinces,” Parsons wrote in a June 19, 2017 letter to the RCMP.

The RCMP responded by deploying dozens of officers — ranging from a low of 80 to a high of 135 — and resources from throughout Atlantic Canada to Labrador between June and September, a mission called Project Beltway that cost the provincial government an estimated $10 million.

A smooth shipment, ahead of schedule

The expected protests, however, never materialized and the transformers were delivered ahead of schedule over the roughly 400 kilometres of road from Cartwright to Happy Valley-Goose Bay without any serious incident.

The seventh and final transformer rolled through the gates at Muskrat Falls on Aug. 25, with a small group of protesters looking on.

There were small protests as seven large transformers destinated for Muskrat Falls were shipped across Labrador from Cartwright last summer, but police say the operation was uneventful. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

So was all the security — and cost — necessary?

Absolutely, said assistant commissioner Peter Clark, commanding officer of the RCMP in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It was a relatively uneventful event. Was that because there were police officers there with the detailed plan and strategy? Or would it have been uneventful anyhow? I believe based on what I know the presence of those police officers and the work they did made the difference in this case,” Clark told CBC News.

But why was it necessary to call in the military?

Clark said there’s limited accommodations in the region, and it made perfect sense to request help from another federal agency.

“We didn’t want to find ourselves putting an unreasonable pressure on existing infrastructure and we wanted to make sure that our people were given healthy and safe accommodation,” Clark explained.

“And the way to do that was to simply reach out to our Canadian Forces partners.”

The military agreed to help, but with strict limitations on its role.

In a letter to the justice minister, the then commander of Joint Task Force Atlantic said the military would not assist in any activities of an “operational nature.”

“This includes any manner of forcible control of the civilian population by CAF personnel, use of CAF facilities or equipment to detain any individual placed under arrest, and providing transportation to and from operational policing activities,” Rear Admiral John Newton wrote in a May 31, 2017 letter to Parsons.

David Nuke leads protesters out of the Muskrat Falls site in October 2016 following a four-day occupation of a section of the accommodations complex. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

In other words, a behind-the-scenes role, ensuring clashes between soldiers and Indigenous protesters, like the ones that made international headlines during the Oka crisis in Quebec in 1990 were not repeated.

A spokesperson for the Canadian Forces said it’s not uncommon for the military to lend assistance to provincial and federal agencies, and cited examples such as the Olympics, meetings of world leaders and even during international drug busts.

Protests turned ugly in 2016

The threat level was high because of persistent protests at the Muskrat Falls site in the fall of 2016 that resulted in costly and significant interruptions to construction, court injunctions, arrests and even hunger strikes.

Children cling to the fence outside the main gate of the Muskrat Falls work site during October 2016 protests at the Labrador construction site. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

The protests were staged by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups and individuals opposed to the project, and forced the RCMP to scramble officers to Labrador in large numbers.

With that as a backdrop, the RCMP and Parsons reached out to the military for assistance, and those concerns reached all the way to Ottawa.

“There is reason to believe that between June and September of 2017 protest activities will resume,” Parsons wrote in a May 31, 2017 letter to Ralph Goodale, the federal minister of Public Safety.

Parsons was not available for an interview.

By Terry Roberts, CBC News Posted: Feb 01, 2018


Reader Submission 

Talks on with Indigenous Demonstrators to Reopen Pinery Provincial Park


The Ministry of Natural Resources wants a trailer at the park entrance moved

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says talks continue in an effort to resolve an issue that led to the closure of a provincial park nearly two weeks ago.

Pinery Provincial Park in southwestern Ontario was closed to the public on Nov. 9 after demonstrators set up a trailer by the front gate in support of what police said was a land claim.

Ministry spokeswoman Emily Kirk says the trailer has been moved so that it now blocks the park entrance.

Kirk says the ministry and Ontario Provincial Police are involved in discussions with the individuals involved.

The park near Grand Bend, Ont., boasts about 10 kilometres of sand beach along Lake Huron and 21 square kilometres of forests and rolling dunes.

It has been the site of land claim protests in the past.

An Indigenous family led by demonstrator Maynard T. George has made several attempts to “repossess” Pinery Provincial Park in past years, saying the land belongs to approximately 100 of his great-grandfather’s descendants.

In 2004, then Ontario attorney general Michael Bryant told the legislature that George’s claim was “an individual grievance” and not a land claim.

Bryant noted that the First Nations in the area — Kettle and Stony Point First Nation — had said that they didn’t endorse the grievance and that they have no land claim at Pinery.

Pinery Park is located near the former Ipperwash Provincial Park is where a land claim demonstration turned deadly in 1995 when a police sniper killed Dudley George — no relation to Maynard George.

The Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation approved the deal with the federal government in 2015 to settle that claim.

The Canadian Press


Winnipeg developer suing 49 protesters in Parker Wetlands dispute

(Source: Rooster Town)

Parker Wetlands protesters have set up a legal defence fund to protect themselves from a lawsuit.

A total of 49 protesters — who camped out on the south Winnipeg site from mid-July to mid-September — have been named in a lawsuit launched by the two numbered companies that own the land.

Gem Equities is planning to develop a new residential neighbourhood and says the protesters were stopping it.

The protesters say the land holds significance for indigenous communities.

In September, a judge ordered protesters to leave, and said he would make up his mind about what kind of damages would have to be paid to the affected companies in the coming weeks.

 In court, lawyers for the land owners suggested each defendant be made to pay $10,000.

The protesters are now asking for donations to cover the costs they may have to pay.

CTV Winnipeg 


Social Movements Played A Huge Part in Derailing Energy East

(Lauren McCallum / CBC)

Yes, the cancellation was a business decision. But thousands of activists were instrumental in its delay

In the wake of TransCanada’s announcement that it will no longer be pursuing Energy East, a familiar chorus of politicians have emerged to blame various actors for the pipeline’s demise.

Conservative MPs and premiers pointed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Leadership hopefuls for Alberta’s United Conservative Party framed it as a direct failure of Premier Rachel Notley. And federal Liberals explained itvaguely as a “business decision” based on “market conditions.”

This blame game, however, has largely ignored the significant role social movements played in derailing the pipeline. Indeed, thousands of concerned citizens have been working to change the discourse and timelines surrounding this project since it was first floated back in 2012.

Years of delay

The pipeline was originally scheduled to be approved by the end of 2014 and in operation by the end of 2018. Instead, delays won by Indigenous communities, grassroots groups, labour unions and NGOs prevented Energy East from being built when it was still economically and politically feasible, back when the price of oil was well north of $80 per barrel.

These delays also created space for Energy East opponents to carve out new expectations of the environmental and social burdens of proof needed for an energy project’s approval, making it even harder to build.

Two events in particular each drove about two years of delay. First, there was the September 2014 grassroots-funded legal challenge on risks to beluga whales at the project’s proposed Cacouna Marine terminal, which triggered a long process of TransCanada trying and failing to find a new Quebec location acceptable to the public.

And second, there was the Charest Affair, where an apparent conflict of interest called into question the overall validity – and legality – of the National Energy Board’s hearing on Energy East, causing delays.

But neither Cacouna nor Charest would have translated into long-term suspensions if not for the public’s ability to run with them. As with Standing Rock and Northern Gateway before it, Indigenous communities led this charge.

The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, the Iroquois Caucus, the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Grand Chief of Treaty 3 and the Kanehsatà:ke Mohawks — alongside many individual nations and Indigenous activists — opposed the project with everything from lawsuits, to speaking tours to direct action.

We saw grassroots marches touring the pipeline route each summer using theatre to raise awareness, protestor takeovers of NEB hearings and TransCanada meetings, youth co-opting selfies with Trudeau to create viral video fodder and an unlikely crew of trade unions, municipalities, French language advocacy groups and professional associations all taking stances against the pipeline.

Approval process review

It is this groundswell of opposition that created the political space for policy-oriented opponents to Energy East to successfully advocate for a review of the National Energy Board’s approval process, and for new interim measures to be applied to Energy East. Among them was the consideration of the climate change impacts of the project — something that, ideally, would be a given for an environmental review of a fossil fuel project.

The pipeline’s new review, if it had been restarted, would have been the first to include consideration of greenhouse gas emissions both up- and down-stream from the project. These added requirements, in combination with the dour economic outlook for bitumen export and the risks of direct action during construction, mean Energy East has become impossible to build. So yes, the cancellation of Energy East was a business decision, but it was one made in a landscape that’s been successfully engineered by social movements.

For those concerned about the risks to the 2973 waterways Energy East would cross, the rights of the 180 Indigenous nations whose territories it would impact, the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 21 million cars it would facilitate and the lack of demand for new oil sands export capacity, the death of Energy East is something to be feted.

But be sure to ground your touchdown dance or celebratory round of kombucha in the recognition that this was one of the easier fossil fuel mega-projects to stop. Of the oil sands pipeline proposals made in the last decade, Energy East has always had the most questionable economic prospects and held the most risk for the Quebec-dependent Liberal government.

Bigger challenges lie ahead in stopping already-approved pipelines such as Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3, new upstream fossil fuel projects like Teck’s Frontier oil sands mine, and in pushing for the bold and equitable solutions needed to get to a zero-carbon society. Before we get back to work, let’s be sure to stake out Energy East as a victory for collective action, lest Trudeau, Notley or low oil prices get all the credit.

By Bronwen Tucker, for CBC News Posted: Oct 12, 2017


Anti-pipeline Activists Stage Protest on Edmonton’s High Level Bridge

Protesters opposed to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion project hung a three-part banner from the High Level Bridge on Friday. (Sam Martin/CBC)

Not all Albertans support the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain expansion, activists say

Protesters hung a large banner from Edmonton’s High Level Bridge on Friday morning to “dispel the myth” that all Albertans support the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

“It’s reckless to expand major fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when we should be seeing all hands on deck for investing in a sustainable economic future,” Anna Gerrard, a spokesperson for the demonstrators, said in a news release. “Albertans are ready for an energy transition.”

The three-part banner, proclaiming No Kinder Morgan, is hung from the east side of the bridge where it can be seen from the Legislature building. It was hung by a team of “educators, workers, students and community organizers,” the news release said.

“Today’s event sends a clear message to Rachel Notley that Albertans are ready for a stable economic future, not another ill-fated pipe dream,” the protesters said.

The twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline would nearly triple the capacity of the 1,150-kilometre line running from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. to 890,000 barrels of oil per day.

The $7.4-billion construction project would add 980 km of new pipeline and reactivate 193 km of existing pipeline along the route.

First Nations, environmental groups and the NDP government in British Columbia are all fighting against Ottawa’s approval of the project.

The protest comes one day after TransCanada’s announcement that it will not proceed with its proposed Energy East and Eastern Mainline projects, prompting Indigenous groups and other opponents to claim victory.

The 4,500-km Energy East pipeline would have carried more than one million barrels of oil every day from Alberta and Saskatchewan across the country to be refined or exported from facilities in New Brunswick and Quebec. Recent projects had put the full price tag at almost $16 billion.

CBC News


Canadian Indigenous Activist in North Dakota Court to face Standing Rock Charges

Kanahus Manuel is in a North Dakota court today to face charges after she participated in the Standing Rock protests last year. (Carrie Cervantes)

Kanahus Manuel was arrested near the construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline Oct. 22

A Secwepemc activist from B.C. is in a North Dakota court today to face charges stemming from her involvement with protests in Standing Rock.

Kanahus Manuel was among dozens of people arrested near the construction of the North Dakota Access Pipeline last Oct. 22.

She faces charges of criminal trespass, engaging in a riot, obstruction of a governmental function, disobedience of a public safety order during riot conditions and disorderly conduct.

“They’re bogus charges. It wasn’t a riot,” Manuel told CBC via telephone after travelling to Mandan, ND from B.C.

“On the day I was arrested, it was during a prayer walk away from the pipeline.”

The sun was rising as the police began to make arrests, she said.

“It was really violent,” she said. “We had elders, women and pregnant women. It was a peaceful march, we were singing.

“The police started to mobilize…they came over the hill like a war movie. They looked like war machines to us as civilians having not ever seen these machines before. We started to retreat because they were overpowering us.”

Manuel spent the day and night in jail and was released the next day. Two weeks later, she plead not guilty to the charges against her.

“I believe that these are major human and Indigenous rights violations. Because when native people stand up to say ‘no’ to these development projects, whether it’s in Canada with the Kinder Morgan project or here with the North Dakota Access Pipeline, if we are really following international standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People then these corporations and governments need the collective free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous People, and they don’t have it. Indigenous People have said no.”

Facing charges

This isn’t the first time Manuel has faced criminal charges related to defending Indigenous rights.

In 2002 she was sentenced to three months in the Burnaby Women’s Institute for protesting the construction of the Sun Peaks Resort in her home territory, citing threats to traditional hunting grounds.

Manuel has also protested on the front lines against well-known development projects in B.C. like the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and the Mount Polley tailings spill disaster by Imperial Metals.

Manuel said she’s headed to the courthouse with a fearless attitude, carrying the prayers of her supporters and holding onto her faith in traditional ceremonies to help get her through.

“I’m going in with no fear. I’m not scared to speak the truth.”

She stressed she’s not alone, and hundreds more are going through similar struggles since the events at Standing Rock.

“There’s a lot of arrest warrants out, people on the run. It’s wrong — these are young people that are protecting their land and culture. Standing Rock wasn’t just about stopping a pipeline, it was about building a massive convergence of native people to bring back our culture and to stand up together.”

By Brandi Morin, CBC News Posted: Oct 03, 2017