The Hanlon Creek 5: Land defence and SLAPP Suits in Guelph, Ontario

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After a community-led occupation shut down a contentious industrial park in Guelph, five people were named in a $5 million lawsuit by the City of Guelph and a private developer. This is the audio from their press conference from April 23, where they outline their reasons for their actions, how this lawsuit is affecting their lives, and why it should be dropped. The press conference was in front of city hall and attended by upwards of 40 people.

This lawsuit is framed as a SLAPP suit, which stands for Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. These are heavy-handed legal tactics designed to intimidate and silence people. Please check out the support site of The Hanlon Creek 5, to learn more about SLAPP suits, and their case in general.

The SLAPP suit alleges the five community activists are responsible for "conspiracy, interference with economic relations, inducing breach of contract, trespass, nuisance, and intimidation." The $5 million is intended to hold the five responsible for potential lost future investment.

The fight to protect this land, and our landbase in general, is far from over.  As said by Josh Gilbert, one of the Hanlon Creek 5,

"The Hanlon Creek Business Park needs to be seen in the broader political and ecological context of runaway climate change, unchecked development and continued habitat loss in Southern Ontario, peak energy, and unaccountable broken democracies that consistently back corporate desires over ecological protection and people's needs. We have seen time and again the City of Guelph and Guelph developers go through so many loopholes in the current environmental legislations and democratic processes that these foundations of our democracy become meaningless facades.

"It is up to the collective "We" ... we need to continue resisting development and build new societies based on mutual aid and co-existence with the natural world that sustains us."

Learn more by going to the above support site, or to the general homepage for the defence of the Hanlon Creek Watershed.

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