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Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Photo by: Christine Smith (McFarlane)


You might ask, why should we say NO to Line 9, a pipeline that will ship tar sands for export and/or why should we worry about this at all?

First off, a tar sands pipeline facilitates the unsustainable growth of the tar sands industry, is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, is responsible for massive increases in air and water pollution in Alberta, as well as  carries a significant threat to our wildlife.

Secondly, the tar sands industry infringes on the constitutional rights of First Nations communities, especially when the air and water are polluted to the point that it also impacts a community’s ability to live off the land. Thirdly, a tar sands pipeline is often put in without proper consultation, and this impedes on First Nations peoples ability to have a say on what can be on their land or not be on their land.

Enbridge Inc wants to export tar sands oil east through Canada and have applied to repurpose Line 9 so that they can use it to export tar sands crude oil east. If this pipeline (circa 1970’s) is allowed, Enbridge will no longer need to import crude from distant countries and serve Western Canadian oil companies that are looking for new markets beyond the United States.

Line 9 is an aging 38 year old oil pipeline owned by Enbridge. It carries conventional oil, runs across southern Ontario and Quebec, and runs through the most densely populated parts of Canada. Line 9 runs a mere 3 feet below ground and runs under farms, through neighborhoods, is close to schools and crosses every single river that flows into Lake Ontario.The installation of Line 9 is detrimental to everyone, it impedes on everyone's ability to have the right to clean air.

A lot of people don’t consider the damages this pipeline carries with it, and the havoc it can evoke if it were to leak. The risk of a spill is not something we can turn our heads away from and ignore because it impacts EVERYONE! Not only in the here and now, but also in the future.

Enbridge doesn't have a clean record when it comes to their pipelines. In 2010, Enbridge spilled 3 million litres of tar sands oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River from its Line 6b pipeline. The 6b line is of the same design as Line 9. The spill that happened in Kalamazoo caused widespread illness, led to evacuations, economic hardship and oil pollution that three years later, has still not been cleaned up.

Enbridge’s Line 9 creates serious risks. Here are three facts about the dangers of shipping tar sands oil:

   Pipelines which carry tar sands oil have spilled 3.6 times more often per mile than the U.S. average.

      Tar sands ‘diluted bitumen’ contains dangerous toxic chemicals that can harm human health and the environment

     Tar sands oil is heavier than water and therefore way more difficult to clean up than a regular oil spill.

There are A LOT more risks to consider when it comes to Line 9. I've only mentioned  a few, but please do your part-get involved and SAY NO TO LINE 9!

How can you get involved, below are some sources you can go to,  to learn more

Contact East End Against Line (this is a group that runs in the east end of Toronto)

Visit the following two websites:

and sign the petition that requests the Province of Ontario to step in to protect the health and safety of its residents:

Lastly, the radio show Indigenous Waves from the University of Toronto has a link that you can go to- to hear First Nations environmental activist Ben Powless speak about the ongoing battle to stop Line 9 from going through our territories.

Ben Powless is a Mohawk citizen from Six Nations in Ontario and has worked extensively with the Indigenous Environmental Network ( This organization focuses on climate justice and resource extraction in Indigenous territories, particularly the tar sands in Canada. He is also an organizer with the Defenders of the Land and Idle No More, and was a co-founder of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, where he still serves on the national council.

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