rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Community members and groups gather in Aamjiwnaang for Line 9 pipeline meetings

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Close to 100 people gathered in Aamjiwnaang First Nation, located inside of Sarnia and close to Lake Huron, on Friday to take part in the Ultimate Walking Toxic Tour of Canada’s Chemical Valley. The toxic tour stopped at several of the 63 petrochemical facilities that surround Aamjiwnaang First Nation. The tour, which kicked off a weekend of strategy meetings on Line 9, highlighted the pollution created by the petrochemical industry and the right to breath clean air.

Line 9 is a pipeline that currently runs from Sarnia to Westover. Enbridge wants to reverse the flow so that oil can flow from Alberta to eastern Canada. Communities have raised concerns including the impacts on indigenous communities and municipalities, the potential for spills and how that would impact drinking water and the rights of indigenous communities to free, prior and informed consent of this project.

The toxic tour, which was the first walking toxic tour, began with an opening ceremony in Rainbow Park, and community activists, environmental groups and various organizations stopped at Imperial Oil’s facility and took a moment of silence for victims of Chemical Valley along the route. Mark Calzavara, Ontario Regional Organizer and I joined the tour and took part in the picnic held on the road outside of the Suncor facility to highlight people’s inability to no longer have picnics in the region. Organizers held a die-in outside of the Shell facility.

In the evening, Wilson Plain gave a moving account that included the history and context of the area. Next Heather Milton-Lightning from the Polaris Institute gave background on tar sands development, their impacts on communities and what communities have been doing to fight their expansion. Bob Lovelace, professor from Queens University and former chief of Ardoch First Nation also spoke.

Over the remainder of the weekend, Mark and I joined approximately 50 people in the strategy sessions on Line 9. The group included activists from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, Toronto, Durham, Hamilton, Kingston and Guelph as well as environmental and social justice organizations on Line 9.

We had breakout sessions on lobbying, research on legal and other aspects, raising awareness and other tactics and approaches. Vanessa Gray closed the inspiring weekend by telling her personal story of living in Chemical Valley, plagued by illness, the legacy of residential schools and deaths of loved ones. While tragic to hear, it solidified our resolve to support her and others fight for their right to clean air and clean water.

To read more about Chemical Valley and the impacts on community members of Aamjiwnaang First Nation, click here.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca 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.

rabble.ca 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! rabble.ca 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 rabble.ca 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.