Barricades not out of the question to fight pipeline: Mohawk leader

Warrior and Canadian soldier face off during the Oka Crisis of 1990.

Warrior and Canadian soldier face off during the Oka Crisis of 1990.

Anne Caroline Desplanques, QMI Agency, April 11, 2015

MONTREAL — Twenty-eight years after the Kanesatake Mohawk First Nation squared off against police during the Oka Crisis, the community’s grand chief has not ruled out barricades to prevent TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline from being built in its territory.

“It’s possible because it’s been helpful in the past,” said Serge Simon. “At the moment, this isn’t our strategy, but it could happen.”

According to the planned route, the pipeline will pass through the northern part of Kanesatake in Quebec.

“This year, we had four feet of ice on the lake,” said Simon. “If an accident happens, how are they going to get down there to clean up the oil?”

In an e-mail, TransCanada defended the project, saying “The East Energy Pipeline Project is an opportunity for all the communities along the route. We reiterate our commitment to maintaining an open, respectful and productive dialogue with all of them.”

Simon said he is opposed to the pipeline out of solidarity with First Nations in northern Alberta near the oil sands projects. A study by Environment Canada and the University of Manitoba found high levels of mercury and arsenic in animals and birds’ eggs in the region and a University of Toronto report said the air is so polluted that it poses a cancer threat to those exposed.

“I can’t take money from TransCanada and sleep at night,” Simon said. “They can no longer use the excuse that we have no choice. It’s an illusion. Alternatives to fossil fuels exist.”

Posted on April 13, 2015, in Oil & Gas and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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