The days of rowdy protests in Guelph seem to have come and gone. Sure, there are still demonstrations, but it seems like no one is riled up enough to get arrested for the cause anymore, or maybe there are just no causes in Guelph worth getting arrested for. Among three activists arrested yesterday for protesting the Line 9 pipeline in Sarnia were two Guelph women.
Sarah Scanlon, 29, and Gillian “Stone” Stewart, 28, along with Vanessa Deanna Gray, 23, of Sarnia, were all charged with damaging property and damaging property endangering life Monday, and appeared in court earlier today. Stewart was also charged with resisting a police officer, according to the Sarnia Observer.
Before a full house of fellow protesters, the three were arraigned in court today and released on condition that they stay away from the Enbridge site. Police were called to the unmanned facility Monday morning and reportedly found the three women chained to the equipment there. The fenced-off area that housed a valve that controls the flow of bitumen from Alberta through Ontario to Montreal, and at 7:30 am Monday, the ladies were successful at shutting it off. Enbridge, who owns the line, was later successful in turning the flow back on.
From a press release sent out by the protesters:
“Line 9 is a highly contested tar sands pipeline that began shipping crude earlier this month between Sarnia and Montreal. Those involved assert that the operation of line 9 is a violation of indigenous sovereignty and treaty rights. “It’s clear that tar sands projects represent an ongoing cultural and environmental genocide.” Vanessa Gray asserts. “I defend the land and water because it is sacred. I have the right to defend against anything that threatens my traditions and culture.”
“The tarsands are known to be the second leading cause of deforestation in the world and permanently contaminate over 7 million barrels of water every day. Locally Aamjiwnaang first nation experiences skewed sex ratios and high rates of respiratory illness because of nearby petrochemical refineries.”
Several different groups are concerned that Line 9 is unsuited to being able to handle the stress of transporting oil across Eastern Canada. One report has said that the odds are as high as 90 per cent that Line 9 will rupture in its first five years of operation, as there are already many fractures in the line, which will be put under added stress by delivering various types of crude, including the most stressful, diluted bitumen.
The ladies will be back in court on January 26.