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More mobilization against tar sands transport in Quebec

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This weekend, communities all over the planet are mobilizing for climate justice. Many thousands will attend People's Climate March in New York City, which promises to be the largest single climate protest in history -- and solidarity marches will take place the world over. In Québec, the Forum Social Bas-Laurentien will organize many rural Quebecers for social justice causes, with a large focus on environmental issues such as TransCanada's planned export station for tar sands fuel in Cacouna.

Also taking place this weekend in St-Andre-de-Argenteuil -- also in Québec -- is the Camp Line 9 action camp, which will be beginning its 16-day organizing project against tar sands transport and the Line 9 pipeline in particular. The camp will attempt to bring the environmental movement in Québec from the stage of words to the stage of action, and will focus on the reversal of Enbridge's Line 9 -- a near-40-year-old pipeline which passes underneath Canada's most densely populated corridor and, once reversed, has upwards of 90 per cent risk of rupture within the first five years of use.

Line 9: Putting Canadians at risk for corporate profits

When the National Energy Board (NEB) approved pipeline giant Enbridge's Line 9 reversal project last March, the company believed that the debate was over. They had blindsided the public with a large-scale disinformation campaign painting the project as "safe and environmentally sensitive," and had convinced the three individual NEB decision-makers that the project would "benefit Canadians." They had the benefit of Bill C-38's provisions which essentially disallows democratic participation in NEB hearings.

But, as has become apparent in the months since Line 9's approval, the fight is far from over. It has, however, made the move from the courtrooms and the hearings into the streets. The province of Ontario has seen multiple actions taken by citizens' groups over the past few months, notably Dam Line 9 and other blockades of "integrity dig" sites along the pipeline's route. The province has also seen Indigenous actions and community organizing against the pipeline.

The province of Québec is beginning to see such resistance to carbon projects as well. Earlier this summer, a group of citizens walked 700 kilometers across the province along the route of both Line 9 and TransCanada's Energy East. During the march it became apparent that many citizens in affected communities were opposed to the projects, and ready to mobilize against them. According to Camp Line 9 organizer Alyssa Symons-Belanger -- who was also a key organizer of the walk against pipelines -- the camp will seek to "reinforce these already-existing networks, as well as expand the network of information and strategy-sharing for the activist and artistic community."

"We want to demystify the concept of direct action in Québec," she added. "We need to continue bringing attention to the arrival of the tar sands in this province, and bring a sense of urgency to the immediate danger posed by Line 9."

Camp Line 9: Organizing against pipelines and environmental destruction

Camp Line 9 will take place over three weekends and the two weeks which connect them. The schedule during weekdays will be open to propositions for workshops by participants who have knowledge which they would like to share; while the weekend schedules have been planned in advance. The first weekend will be focused on the setup of camp infrastructure; including a greenhouse with a collective kitchen, a media center, a children's area and the tent-city.

The second weekend will see a convergence of citizens' groups from across Québec and beyond. The theme of the second weekend will be an examination of past experience: what has worked, what has not, and what lessons can be learned from the collective past experiences of the diverse groups in attendance. These groups will then attempt to form a calendar of all diverse types of actions during the coming year. From Québec, signed up to attend are, among others, representatives from NON a un Maree Noir dans le St-Laurent, Idle No More Québec, Coalition Vigilance Oleoducs, STOP Oleoduc, the Centre d’Ecologie Solidaire et Applique, and Climate Justice Montreal. From outside Québec, members of the Dam Line 9 blockade will be in attendance from Ontario, as well as Vanessa Gray -- an Indigenous resister to Ontario's "chemical valley" in Sarnia -- and organizers for the upcoming Climate Action Camp in Nova Scotia and opponents of the proposed Belledune export station in New Brunswick, which would see tar sands bitumen brought in by train in huge quantities.

The final weekend is listed as the "action weekend," according to the camp's program. It will be focused on the planning and execution of symbolic direct actions against Line 9. Exactly what form the actions ends up taking is still up for democratic decision-making by members of the camp. Alyssa Symons-Belanger is optimistic. She says that along with a demonstration of resistance to Line 9, she hopes that the members of the camp will "not only be ready for action, but will leave the camp with a deeper understanding of the problem at hand."

"Come and join us," added Symons-Belanger. "This is a defining moment in Québec. We can either choose to move towards climate justice, or we can move towards integration in an emerging Canadian petro-state. This fight is too important to stay home."

Those interested in participating in Camp Line 9 any time between September 20 and October 4 can contact the organizers using the following points of reference:

Official Site: http://campligne9.wordpress.com/

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (438) 937-0249

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/campautogereligne9

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/960151257344493/

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