We are a group of people who, back in february 2020, held an all-day railroad blockade in so-called Lennoxville, Quebec, on stolen Abenaki land, in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en land defenders and against the ongoing violence of colonialism. We have recently learned that the criminal accusations that had been laid against us have finally been withdrawn and that our case has been closed.
On the one hand, it brings us joy to avoid the stress and hassle of a criminal trial, and even moreso considering how the Sherbrooke police shamelessly lied to us and broke their own protocols in order to arrest us on that sunny winter day.
On the other hand, however, we find it important to remember and acknowledge that the criminal charges we were facing come from a State (and its whole legal system) that sees nothing wrong with colonial genocide, with murdering and dispossessing indigenous folks, and with destroying life in the name of profit. So-called Canada and so-called Quebec are on stolen native land, and no amount of laws or repression will ever make us see this as fair or acceptable. Our action was one of many others in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en people who have been continuously threatened and harassed by the RCMP and pipeline industry goons.
The funds we had raised for our legal battle will be split evenly between the lawyers who supported us, the Tyendinaga and Hamilton friends who are facing trial for their own solidarity blockades, as well as the Unist’ot’en Camp Legal Fund.
The handful of supporters in the sparsely-populated courtroom came there to bear witness and stand in solidarity with an Indigenous Elder who had just been tried for a second time and was now awaiting the verdict.
In December, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick found Jim Leyden guilty of criminal contempt of court for breaching an injunction originally brought by Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC (TMX) in March 2018. The injunction is the line that TMX has drawn in the sand, so as to stifle any meaningful resistance at the company’s worksites throughout the province – including TMX contractors and subcontractors – and all along the pipeline’s path.
It was Leyden’s second conviction, with more than 230 people found guilty of breaching the TMX injunction since 2018. Those in court to support Leyden on December 9, 2020, were unsurprised by the verdict, but they were nonetheless outraged. Leyden’s conviction represents a new strategy by TMX and the Crown that skirts established Crown policy on civil disobedience and ruthlessly targets Indigenous land defenders.
The injunction is the line that TMX has drawn in the sand, so as to stifle any meaningful resistance at the company’s worksites throughout the province.
Leyden, 68, was sentenced for his first conviction in October, along with his two Indigenous co-defendants – Stacy Gallagher, 58, and Tawahum Bige, 27 – all of whom were in ceremony at the time of their August 2018 arrests. Fitzpatrick all but ignored Leyden’s health conditions, which would normally mitigate his punishment, and sentenced him, along with Gallagher and Bige, to the Crown’s recommendation of 28 days in jail, one of the longest sentences imposed against land defenders for breaching the TMX injunction.
During COVID-19, these sentences amount to solitary confinement, much harsher than normal detention conditions. Leyden, who already suffers from pancreatitis and a heart condition, and has been in and out of hospitals since his 2018 arrest, spent much of the time between his release and his second trial in the hospital dealing with health and heart impacts from multiple spider bites he got while in jail at North Fraser Pretrial Centre.
On New Year’s Eve 2019, Leyden and Gallagher were served with notices from the Crown that they were being charged, yet again, with criminal contempt for apparent activity at TMX’s Burnaby Mountain facility (Burnaby Terminal) in November and December of that year. But no arrests had occurred at the scene, which left Leyden and Gallagher wondering why they were being charged.
After reviewing the disclosure, it became evident that Leyden and Gallagher were being targeted by TMX and the Crown. Affidavits and video footage taken by TMX security personnel identified Leyden and Gallagher near the gates of the Burnaby Terminal on December 2, 2019. Additional footage also showed Gallagher in the same general location on November 15 and December 18, 2019.
Notably, each video clip showed Leyden and Gallagher surrounded by several other, mostly white land defenders. But no one else was charged by the Crown.
It’s well known that Leyden and Gallagher are part of a group called the Mountain Protectors which, among other things, monitors TMX work carried out at the Burnaby Terminal. (I am also a member of the group.) The terminal is also known as the “tank farm,” because of the giant oil storage tanks spread out over the side of the mountain that can be seen from several kilometers away. With permission and direction from traditional Elders of the three host nations – Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, and Musqueam – Leyden, Gallagher, and others have engaged in ceremony and carried out monitoring activities from an Indigenous Watch House built in March 2018, which sits adjacent to the tank farm and is explicitly excluded from the TMX injunction despite its position atop the pipeline route.
Notably, each video clip showed Leyden and Gallagher surrounded by several other, mostly white land defenders. But no one else was charged by the Crown.
According to the website of Protect the Inlet, a Watch House (“Kwekwecnewtxw” or “a place to watch from” in the henqeminem language) is “grounded in the culture and spirituality of the Coast Salish Peoples” and is a “traditional structure they have used for tens of thousands of years to watch for enemies on their territories and protect their communities from danger.”
On the same day that Leyden was accused for a second time of violating the injunction, he and others were attempting to bring light to claims that TMX was improperly transporting contaminated soil from the tank farm to an industrial park in Port Coquitlam. The Mountain Protectors issued a press release a day earlier questioning whether the company was in violation of provincial contaminated soil regulations. Leyden can be seen in his disclosure footage talking to people Fitzpatrick referred to during his trial as “media types.”
On two of the three days in 2019 for which Leyden and Gallagher were charged with criminal contempt, law enforcement was not even present. At no time were they asked by RMCP to leave the area, as defined in a “five step process” laid out in the injunction, ostensibly to avoid unnecessary arrests. In fact, a Crown Counsel Policy Manual from 2014 on Civil Disobedience and Contempt of Related Court Orders puts emphasis on the need to give protesters a “clear demand to leave” the premises, referred to in legal parlance as a “dispersal order.”
Latest trials of Indigenous land defenders engaged in ceremony
Gallagher and Leyden were scheduled to be tried together in August, but due to concerns that Leyden might have COVID-19, his trial was postponed. Gallagher’s trial, however, began as planned and lasted eight days. During the trial, Fitzpatrick’s disrespect for defence counsel was palpable and she consistently deferred to the whims of the Crown. The defence explained how Gallagher follows the Anishinaabe ways of his mother’s ancestors, his grandmothers’ teachings, and the natural laws. Gallagher testified and explained that he serves the people as a fire keeper and Opwaagan/pipe carrier, and by upholding his spiritual and ceremonial responsibilities. Gallagher told the court he was engaged in ceremony on the days in question, and pointed out that he was not asked to leave.
Fitzpatrick was dismissive of and showed contempt for the basic facts of Indigenous history. Her unexamined stereotypes and uninformed attitudes toward Indigenous Peoples, cultures, and values were on full display. These were some of the points made in a 93-page complaint against Fitzpatrick submitted to the Canadian Judicial Council on December 3, questioning her ability to be fair and impartial in these cases (a summary of the report can be found here).
Gallagher told the court he was engaged in ceremony on the days in question, and pointed out that he was not asked to leave.
Needless to say, on November 13, Fitzpatrick found Gallagher guilty of all three contempt charges. Gallagher is scheduled to be sentenced on January 25, 2021, and the Crown is recommending he serve an additional 90 days in jail.
Leyden’s second trial began on December 7 and lasted three days. He, too, testified on his own behalf. Leyden explained to the court that he comes from Six Nations territory in Ontario, was apprehended during the ’60s Scoop, and was relocated outside of his home territory for adoption. After moving to Coast Salish territory, Leyden became an Elder, senior Sundancer, and the head firekeeper for Sundance chief Robert Nahanee. Most recently, he was asked to carry out the role of watchman as a Watch House Elder, keeping an eye on the work being done at TMX and reporting misconduct to government agencies and the public.
Leyden also pointed out that no one asked him to leave. In fact, when police showed up on the scene, they took part in the ceremony led by Leyden, during which police were videotaped holding hands with those gathered near the entrance to the Burnaby Terminal and passing the pipe during that part of the ceremony. Leyden and others left the scene soon after, and none the wiser.
Before finding Leyden guilty of criminal contempt, Fitzpatrick told him the injunction provides for an “absolute prohibition” and does not require police to ask him to leave. Fitzpatrick claimed that the RCMP’s five step process in the injunction is merely discretionary, and that Leyden’s opposing arguments “fly in the face” of the terms of the injunction.
In fact, when police showed up on the scene, they took part in the ceremony led by Leyden, during which police were videotaped holding hands with those gathered near the entrance to the Burnaby Terminal and passing the pipe during that part of the ceremony.
Never mind that RCMP officers were careful to adhere to each step of the five step process when they arrested more than 230 mostly white people for symbolic civil disobedience at the gates of TMX in the spring and summer of 2018. In some cases, police pleaded with land defenders to leave so they didn’t have to arrest them. One exception occurred on March 19, 2018, when RCMP officers violently attacked several Indigenous land defenders before arresting them.
Leyden is scheduled to be sentenced on March 1, 2021, and the Crown is recommending he serve an additional 60 days in jail. “The Crown has made it clear that the increased severity of these sentences is meant to stifle resistance to the pipeline,” says Leyden. “They’re using us as an example to scare others from confronting Trans Mountain.”
Using injunction law to curb resistance and free expression
Under the guise that breaching a court order “depreciates the authority of the court” and brings us to the brink of a lawless society, the B.C. Supreme Court uses injunctions – one of its favorite legal tools – to legitimize the repression of political resistance. In B.C., when one violates the terms of an injunction, the offence falls under the arcane English common law, which is based largely on the discretion of judges, cannot be found in Canada’s Criminal Code, and relies only on past decisions.
Under the guise that breaching a court order “depreciates the authority of the court” and brings us to the brink of a lawless society, the B.C. Supreme Court uses injunctions – one of its favorite legal tools – to legitimize the repression of political resistance.
A breach of the TMX injunction can occur in three ways: (1) obstruction of an entrance to a TMX facility, including facilities of TMX contractors and subcontractors, (2) destroying signage or fencing around TMX sites, or (3) coming within five metres of TMX property. A glaring hypocrisy of the TMX injunction is that a frequently used public trail on the south side of the Burnaby Terminal winds its way directly through the 5-metre zone, but only when land defenders or protesters dare to get too close to TMX property does the company, the RCMP, and the Crown take notice. Former B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck, who granted the 2018 TMX injunction, consistently denied that the order violated anyone’s Charter rights to free expression and repeatedly made reference to the injunction’s abstract claim that people “remain at liberty to engage in peaceful, lawful and safe protest” as he found defendant after defendant guilty of contempt.
The most recent verdicts from Fitzpatrick set a chilling precedent on how the Crown can handle these contempt cases, without even the presence of police or an order to disperse. Apparently, all it takes to be charged, brought into the B.C. Supreme Court, and forced to endure a near-certain conviction (only one acquittal has occurred from more than 230 prosecutions) is for TMX to videotape people near or on company property and then request to bring criminal contempt charges.
The most recent verdicts from Fitzpatrick set a chilling precedent on how the Crown can handle these contempt cases, without even the presence of police or an order to disperse.
In case it needs to be spelled out, the B.C. government – in the robes of Crown Counsel – is working at the behest of TMX. There is no veil hiding the relationship between the Court, the Crown, and corporations like Trans Mountain, whether they’re owned by Texas-based Kinder Morgan or the Canadian government.
As if that wasn’t sufficient to stifle TMX resistance, the Crown recommended – and Fitzpatrick gladly ordered – that Leyden and Gallagher be prohibited from coming within 500 metres of TMX facilities as a bail condition for their most recent charges. Setting aside unaddressed land rights issues and the federal government’s arrogant disregard of Indigenous opposition to the pipeline, how is a one-half kilometer “stay-away zone” not a violation of one’s Charter rights to free expression, whether one is Indigenous or a settler?
“The 500-metre stay away order has greatly impacted our ability to monitor Trans Mountain work sites so that we can hold them accountable,” says Leyden. “And I believe that was their intent.”
Reasons mount to abandon troubled TMX project
While Leyden, Gallagher, and Bige were serving their jail sentences in October, several people – including a Secwepemc Hereditary Chief and his daughter – were arrested for allegedly breaching the TMX injunction near Kamloops in Secwepemc territory. The company had begun drilling under the North Thompson River during the salmon run and people were rightly outraged.
Rather than genuinely address opposition to the pipeline expansion project, the ongoing arrests are attempts by the federal and provincial governments to prosecute and jail their way out of the problem. Eight of these land defenders will have their first appearance on contempt charges in the B.C. Supreme Court on January 20.
Ever since the Canadian government bought TMX from Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion in 2018, costs associated with building the pipeline have risen steadily to more than $12 billion while oil prices have fallen precipitously. The federal government has not only fought legal challenges from the Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations and the Coldwater Indian Band in order to avoid meaningful consultation and having to seek widespread Indigenous approval; Canada is also driving at top speed in the opposite direction of meeting its commitments in the Paris Climate Agreement.
“The 500-metre stay away order has greatly impacted our ability to monitor Trans Mountain work sites so that we can hold them accountable,” says Leyden. “And I believe that was their intent.”
The existing Trans Mountain pipeline is already an environmental and public health hazard with a long history of disastrous spills. As recently as June, 50 thousand gallons of crude oil spilled from a pump station located above an aquifer that supplies the Sumas First Nation with drinking water. The TMX project would impact numerous drinking water sources along the route and lead to a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet, threatening the endangered southern resident orcas. Because of the known seismic, fire, and chemical hazards associated with the tank farm, hundreds of thousands of residents in the “evacuation zone” will be put at grave risk, not to mention the tens of thousands of students and staff at Simon Fraser University and Burnaby Mountain Secondary School.
Even internal health and safety issues are plaguing the company. On December 15, a worker at the TMX Westridge Terminal in Burnaby was hospitalized after being seriously injured, causing TMX to suspend all construction operations in the Lower Mainland. The accident follows revelations that the Canada Energy Regulator recently found “systemic non-compliances” of COVID-19 mask rules at worksites across the Lower Mainland.
Leyden and Gallagher are committed to appealing their convictions, but it’s unclear how far the RCMP, the Crown, and the courts are prepared to go in serving the interests of TMX.
“The treatment and experience of my client in the B.C. Supreme Court is a reflection of how much work there is still to do,” says Michelle Silongan of ST Law and the Law Union of B.C., who is representing Leyden in one of his appeals. “Reconciliation requires that the Canadian legal system affirm the laws, protocols, and traditions that Indigenous people have practiced here since time immemorial. Without recognizing and paying heed to the foremost obligations and responsibilities held by Indigenous defendants, both reconciliation and justice will remain elusive.”
“They’re using us as an example to scare others from confronting Trans Mountain.”
Antiquated colonial laws are being wielded like a stick over the heads of climate activists and Indigenous land defenders, with no clear end game. Will the Crown be able to continue targeting Indigenous land defenders with impunity? How far will the courts go to repress and punish those opposed to a pipeline expansion project that seems doomed to fail?
TMX relied on questionable evidence of “irreparable harm” in order to impose an injunction and attempt to shield itself from opposition, but the impact to Indigenous Peoples and settlers alike, and the certain environmental devastation for generations to come, is the harm we should be addressing.
“How Canada is targeting Indigenous resistance to TMX” by Kris Hermes, 19 January 2021
It’s been almost a year since the wave of blockades in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders known as Shut Down Canada. Since then, there has been no shortage of urgent issues, and public attention has moved on. However, for both those on the front lines and those still facing charges, moving on has not been an option.
There are currently at least sixty people still facing serious criminal charges from the raids on Wet’suwet’en territory and the solidarity movement. These actions involved thousands of people in every province of the country, and it’s impossible to describe them briefly, but here are a few aspects:
In January 2020, solidarity actions began as the RCMP prepared their latest offensive against the decade-long reclamation of Wet’suwet’en territory. When the raid started in earnest in early February, Mohawks at Tyendinaga launched a rail blockade shutting down traffic between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. Rail disruption immediately became the preferred tactic for the movement and in the coming weeks, long-term, Indigenous-led blockades occurred as well in Kahnawake, Listuguj, Six Nations and New Hazelton. Shorter (and sometimes repeat) blockades happened in Halifax, Toronto, Victoria, Vancouver, Magnetewan, Coquitlam, Hamilton, Morris, Saint-Pascal, Edmonton, Saint-Lambert, Kamloops, Saskatoon, Elsipogtog, Saguenay, and across the border in Washington state. Demonstrations and road blockades occurred in many places as well.
From that massive mobilization, twenty-eight people from Tyendinaga Mohawk territory are still fighting charges, following the OPP’s attack on their community. The next largest group of defendants is from a blockade outside of Sherbrooke, Quebec, where some fifteen people are waiting for trial. In Hamilton, Ontario, six people are each facing four counts of indictable mischief for a 24 hour rail blockade. In the Bas-Saint-Laurent, one person stil has charges from a rail disruption and two people in Montreal have mischief charges for alleged graffiti.
During the previous winter, in January 2019, there was also a violent RCMP raid on Wet’suwet’en territory. Although the solidarity mobilization was smaller, it still saw significant demos, occupations, and blockades across the country, and these too were met with repression.
Two people who were present at the blockades on Wet’suwet’en territory during the 2019 raid still have assault police charges. In Hamilton, one person is charged for alleged vandalism at an RCMP detachment. In Montreal, six people are still dealing with charges connected to the blockade of the Jacques-Cartier bridge.
Nearly a hundred and fifty people were arrested during these two years of struggle. Many were released without charge, others simply got tickets. Some of the criminal charges laid have resolved. For instance this fall, twelve people charged from a rail blockade in Toronto saw their charges withdrawn, two in Vancouver received discharges, and all charges were dropped against those arrested on Wet’suwet’en territory during the raid last February (though the RCMP report their investigation is ongoing).
That more charges are resolving is certainly good news, however we also need to be cautious. The legal system drops charges against some in order to isolate and delegtimize others. Even as we celebrate, we need to remember that it’s likely some of those still charged will end up in prison for moments of struggle we all shared.
Everyone does not face the legal system on an equal footing. It is deeply racist and colonial, and Indigenous defendants are more likely to be found guilty and to receive harsher sentences. As well, those with criminal records, especially ones stemming from their political involvement, will also receive worse treatment and are more likely to do prison time.
The movement last winter was incredibly powerful, and the struggle isn’t over. On Wet’suwet’en territory, work on the pipeline hasn’t stopped for the pandemic, and land defenders on the front lines haven’t stopped resisting. This is true for many other Indigenous peoples across Canada — from Mi’kma’ki to Six Nations to Secwempec territory, this has been a landmark year for Indigenous resistance and assertions of sovereignty. These currents will continue overlapping with resistance to industrial expansion, creating new possibilities and sites of resistance. Nothing stopped, and there will be other times when we will need to shut down Canada again.
All successful movements face repression and have prisoners. More than avoiding repression, what matters is how we deal with it. We need to always be finding ways to show those targeted they are not alone — this makes it easier for them to get through it with strength and integrity. As people move through the justice system, displays of solidarity and practical support make a real difference in the outcome. We need to show that those who are brave and take risks will be supported if we want to be brave together again in the future and see our movements grow.
We will continue sharing updates on North Shore Counter-Info with details about the changing legal situation, and will also amplify fundraising efforts and specific asks from defendants for solidarity or support. On North Shore, they will be under the tag “Blockade Defense” (north-shore.info/tag/blockade-defense) and on Twitter under the hashtag #BlockadeDefense.
If we are forgetting anyone or you have any comments, get in touch in English or French at firstname.lastname@example.org. The pgp key is available at keys.openpgp.org.
We hear the cries for help coming out across this fake nation. We see Wetsuweten, Secwepemc, and Mohawk warriors and matriarchs standing firm against the fascist state that is trying to unabashedly and continually steal their land through state militia sponsored industrial projects. We see Mikmaq and Algonquin warriors and matriarchs standing strong in defense of their right to live free from the infrastructure of this false state.
We also see complacency across these lands. From the vacuum of territories that are not being contested, we hear nothing. The state sponsored industrial hydra knows no boundary, no territorial line, yet those who have not been physically confronted by this beast continue to remain silent. We see this militant passivity from ‘allies’ and ‘accomplices’ alike, and with that we have decided to act accordingly.
A few nights ago, during the supposed week of action, in a remote location somewhere between prince george and prince rupert, we took some bolts and cut the guy wires on a high transmission power line pylon. The line in question runs directly from fort saint john to kitimat, effectively distributing power from the site C dam to the LNG canada facility when they are both finished.
We see these as critical points of attack as they are both still in the construction phase. This is neither the first or last time you will hear from us, and we will not cease to act until the entire oil and gas industry that is decimating the lands that we and our comrades live on and come from, an industry built entirely on the backs of indigenous populations across Turtle Island, has found itself crumbling at the foundation. With the next great windstorm will come the crashing down of this monolithic representation of everything we aim to destroy.
We feel the winds of change beginning to blow, and we hope those reading this will do what they can to help the winds blow down everything around them.
Resistance is a living practice that spans across time and space. Interwoven webs connect peoples and communities – spreading fire from one space to the next. In its most subversive forms resistance will evade the capture of rationalization or quantification. Attempts to relay what is happening in any specific location will at best be incomplete stories, riddled by the storyteller’s bias.
What follows is a story of recent moments of resistance to the construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. This is just one story and makes no attempt to speak for the wide variety of individuals involved in this struggle. We share these stories in attempt to add fuel to the fire. We hope this contribution fans the flames and helps to one day engulf the contractors involved in the project’s construction. To learn more about the contractors involved see seedsofresistance.noblogs.org
Earlier this November, pre-drilling under the Wedzin Kwa (morice river) was scheduled to begin. While CGL workers prepared to build the pads which host the drill, they were harassed, survey flags were pulled down, and a two-kilometer blockade was built on the road. Dozens of trees were felled on the road, barricades erected, barbed wire strung throughout, and a ditch was dug through the road. Once the pads where built and the drill arrived, a tree was fell onto the drill – which resulted in the drill being removed from the territory.
Simultaneously survey flags were being pulled, works sites trashed, and a hunter’s blind or tree sit is being occupied in the project’s right of way (ROW). With sub-zero temperatures long-term tree occupation is not easy – yet a 40ft tall fortified tree occupation surrounded by barricades is, for the time being, standing defiantly. Additionally, to stop access to the project’s right of way, barricades were erected and lit aflame with banners atop which read: shut down canada, solidarity with Six Nations, Mi’kmaqi fishers and Secwepemc land defenders.
Most recently, 3-4 kilometers of wooden barricades were built, stopping workers from accessing the ROW for days. To make things more difficult heavy machinery was used to dig up the road and destroy a bridge.
One day we hope to find ourselves sitting with friends and relatives resting and warming our hands on a large fire. A fire made up of all the projects which seek to destroy the land and the ones we care about – two things which we know are inseparable. Until that day comes we will continue to ignite smaller flames even if they just keep us warm for the night. We hope that the heat of these embers reaches you and warms your heart.
This island is riddled with train tracks: arteries that enable the flow of capital across the continent, conduits for the transport of bitumen and other products of resource exploitation, colonization, and death. The rails have always been instruments of colonial expansion. Throughout these territories, early railways displaced indigenous peoples, carried in the troops that put down uprisings, and cemented the national identity of a nascent settler state.
Last winter, in response to police incursion into Wet’suwet’en territory and the arrest of land-defenders, rail blockades sprung up all across so-called Canada. In the year since, the resource-hungry settler state has continued its attack on indigenous peoples. From Wet’suwet’en and Secwepmeculew territories in the west, to Six Nations and Algonquin territories closer by, to Mi’kma’ki in the east, indigenous peoples have faced an onslaught of repression at the hands of police, white supremacists, and other violent settlers.
Following recent calls to Shutdown Canada again, and for a week of solidarity with indigenous land struggles, we decided to take action against the rails. Early in the morning of Monday November 30th, several autonomous groups interrupted train traffic across Montreal island. We used jumper cables to mimic the passage of freight trains, thus jamming up the rail network at several key junctions. As dawn broke on a new work week, we hope that our actions created at least some impediment to the orderly progression of the colonial economy.
With love to all those struggling to defend the land against Canada.
Comments Off on Solidarity Disruption and Experimentation on the CP and AMT railroad
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
Early in the evening of Friday November 27th in Tio’tia:ke/Montreal, Canadian Pacific (freight) and AMT (commuter trains) traffic was interrupted as a response to the Coast to Coast call to Action* against the continued violent invasion of unceded Indigenous territory by militarized colonial police forces.
A thick (thickness of a pencil) 13ft copper wire was tightly wrapped around (twice per rail just to make sure) and across the rails, completing a circuit that mimics a train passing, thus temporarily blocking off this section of the railroad until a maintenance crew is called, the wire found, the rails inspected, etc. The activation of train signal lights behind and ahead of us on the tracks allowed us to confirm it worked, though nearby crossing barriers didn’t go down to stop car traffic as expected. Our understanding is that maybe given the direction of the next train scheduled to pass, the obstruction created was understood by their system as being a train that had already passed the crossing. It is also unclear whether this works further away from electrical infrastructure where the current on the rails might not be as strong.
More experimentation – and sharing our findings – is certainly needed but we believe this method to be quick and simple enough to be replicated without much expertise or training. Police repression is also quite difficult given the scale of railroad networks in and around cities. Make sure to plan everything as securely as you would any similar action. Prepare and discuss things only with people involved and do so away from phones and other electronics equipped with microphones and geolocation systems. Make sure there is no way to identify you while gathering information (via Tor Browser or a VPN for online browsing), acquiring the tools you need, leaving the area, and finally broadcasting your action if necessary. Keep in mind cameras, fingerprints, DNA, footprints, and contextual risks (e.g. electrical current, police, falling) at all times before, during, and after the action.
As seen time and time again, the only language understood by the Canadian state is the disruption of the circulation of goods, labor, and capital. Last winter, Indigenous land protectors and settler accomplices have shown that the Canadian colonial project is nothing more than a few population hubs linked to extractive areas by vulnerable transport infrastructure. Colonial laws are illegitimate on Indigenous territory and they will always be disregarded in the fight against the genocide of Indigenous people.
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Anonymous submissions toNorth Shore Counter-info
OPP collaborators, we see you! November 6, 2020
UAV Tower Innovations is a drone company that is being paid by the OPP to spy on indigenous land defenders. Their publicly listed address is 403138 Grey Rd 4, Durham. Last night we spraypainted a message on their driveway: OPP COLLABORATORS WE SEE YOU! WE ARE WATCHING YOU NO JUSTICE ON STOLEN NATIVE LAND
This is a warning, keep your drones away from the front lines.
Love and solidarity to indigenous people taking back their land!
Hamilton: John A MacDonald Statue Painted Red November 9, 2020
Early in the morning on November 9th, a few of us tread into the night to pay visit to Sir John A Macdonald in Gore park downtown Hamilton. With a loaded fire extinguisher, we painted him red, symbolizing his blood-soaked legacy. We did this in solidarity with the land defenders out 1492 Landback Lane, our neighbors from Six Nations, who are facing intense police violence in their attempt to save their land from another cheap and hollow suburban development.
Fuck John A and his genocidal power project, the state of Canada. A racist – even for his times – he solidified the colonial relationship and ensured the continued landtheft from Indigenous peoples. Fuck every prime minister right down the chain, including Justin Trudeau and his empty reconciliation rhetoric. Once again see the state refusing to meet the land defenders of any Nation with the respect and sovereignty they pay lip service to. And fuck the OPP. A.C.A.B.
It is time to honour the call of Indigenous people everywhere when they say LAND BACK. Come to the support of the Natives you live close to, whether that’s the Mi’kmaq fishermen fighting their right to trap out east to the Tiny House Warriors on the west coast pushing back against the TransMountain pipeline. Anytime you undermine symbols or infrastructure the state, you weaken its claim to permanence. All that was built can be torn down, just like the roads out at Sixth Line.
Comments Off on Seeds of Resistance: A New Resource for Land Defense
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
As the world falls apart around us we turn to the land more than ever.
This site is meant as a resource for resisting pipelines and other exploitative industrial projects. It is full of information for ideas and action when the process has failed, when permits have been granted, and there is nothing left but our own selves to protect the land.
Pipeline companies threaten violence to communities, salmon and wildlife with drilling under sacred headwaters.
(Unceded Yintah / Secwepemcúĺecw Territories): Coastal Gaslink pipeline in Wet’suwet’en territory and Trans Mountain Pipeline in Secwepemc territory are both currently preparing to drill under our clear rivers, from which we have drawn sustenance since time immemorial.
In the past few days we have seen Indigenous women interrupted during ceremonies in both territories, and arrests and incarcerations in Secwepemc territories, for enacting their sacred responsibilities. The Trans Mountain Pipeline weaves through over 900 rivers and creeks, threatening both Secwepemcetkwe (Thompson) and Fraser River systems. The North Thompson is connected to the Adams River, a vital spawning habitat for chinook, coho, and pink salmon, and home to one of the most important sockeye runs in the world. Any leakage would immediately threaten the pacific salmon who spawn in the Secwepemcetkwe (Thompson) and Fraser River basins.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister dated November 26, 2016, our late Secwepemc leader Arthur Manuel wrote to Trudeau:
“The salmon and the rivers they inhabit have taken care of our people for centuries and we are obligated as Secwepemc people to protect the Thompson River system for future generations.”
In this the Secwepemc stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en people, who have been fighting to protect Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) from pipeline incursions for over a decade. Wetʼsuwetʼen means “People of the lower drainage” and Wet’suwet’en people’s lives are inseparable from the life of the Wedzin Kwa river, which we have protected for thousands of years, and which has in turn fed us and governed us through our hereditary leaders and knowledge-keepers.
Sleydo’ Molly Wickham, spokesperson of the Gidimt’en Checkpoint, states:
At this time our rivers, the lifeblood of our nations, are facing drills, toxins and invaders. Indigenous people are standing up to state violence, big industry and corporate greed for the future of all of humanity–of all life on our yintah. We stand with our Secwepemc relatives in their struggle and ask all Indigenous peoples and our allies to stand up for the salmon, the clean drinking water, the animals and our future generations. We will not let them kill us. We will always be here.
Over the last two decades we have witnessed the dramatic decline of our salmon as a result of toxic extractive and urban development on our territory, as well as fish farms, invasive species, and climate change. These pipeline expansions pose the most direct risk yet.
The drilling alone threatens not only salmon spawning habitat but the balance of the entire ecosystem and food chain they rely upon. The sockeye are tenacious, fighting their way thousands of kilometres upstream from the Pacific Ocean to reach their spawning beds in Secwepemc territory. Wedzin Kwa joins the Skeena and runs through the canyons out to the Pacific Ocean. We cannot risk putting any more obstacles in the salmons’ way.
Our traditional land users and stewards—those who exercise our right to hunt, fish, gather, and practice our culture—are the ones who truly understand the potential impacts of the pipeline. It is these members of our nations who will feel the effects of the pipeline on our rights and our food sovereignty most acutely. It is these members who have authority over our lands the government of Canada has failed most.
When we protect our rivers from invading industries, and insist on our rights to fish and hunt on our territories, we are criminalized, harassed and jailed. In Secwepemc territory, there were 5 arrests yesterday and 3 indigenous land defenders were sentenced to 28 days in Canadian jail.
By refusing to seek the free prior and informed consent of our people, and instead opting to sign deals and agreements with a few of our federal Indian bands, the government of Canada has undermined the authority of the proper rights and title holders of Secwepemcúl’ecw and the Wet’suwet’en yintah.