Aamjiwnaang activist Ron Plain, Maude Barlow, Ecojustice lawyer Justin Duncan.

Ottawa-based Council of Canadians water campaigner Emma Lui and Toronto-based Ontario-Quebec organizer Mark Calzavara will be participating in the ‘Toxic Tour’ in Sarnia and at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, located on Lake Huron, this coming Friday, March 15.

BlackburnNews.com reports, “Participants are being told to congregate at Sarnia’s Rainbow Park on Christina Street south at noon next Friday. From there they’ll march to Vidal Street with stops outside Imperial Oil by 12:30 p.m. a ‘moment of silence’ is scheduled an hour later as the procession makes its way past Suncor and Shell refineries on St Clair Parkway. Closing ceremonies are scheduled (then to take place) at the Aamjiwnaang First Nation’s community centre.”

It has been noted that approximately 40 per cent of Canada’s petro-chemical industry operates within a few kilometres of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and that the Sarnia-area alone produces more greenhouse gases than the entire province of British Columbia. This is why the area is referred to as Chemical Valley.

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has stated, “The Aamjiwnaang First Nation is surrounded on three sides by toxic-belching industries and on the fourth by a Michigan coal plant. They are grappling with high levels of cancer, headaches, numbness and many other ailments that have brought them international attention in the last decade. Their water supply has been so contaminated by the petrochemical industry that two girls are born for every boy. Under the obligation to protect — won with the United Nations recognition of the human right to water — governments must step in to ensure that third parties such as corporations or extractive industries aren’t destroying local water systems. Ecojustice has also argued that the cumulative impacts of pollution from local refinery and chemical facilities violate basic human rights under sections 7 and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms — the rights to life, liberty and security of the person, and the right to equality.”

The Council of Canadians stands in solidarity with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and support their UN-affirmed right to water and their rights and freedoms under the Canadian Charter.

The Toxic Tour is being organized by Aamjiwnaang & Sarnia Against Pipelines (ASAP). For more information, please contact them at [email protected].

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Brent Patterson

Brent Patterson is a political activist, writer and the executive director of Peace Brigades International-Canada. He lives in Ottawa on the traditional, unceded and unsurrendered territories of the Algonquin...