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

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support today for as little as $1 per month!

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.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.