Update: Vanessa Gray, Sarah Scanlon, and Stone Stewart have been charged with mischief over $5,000, and mischief endangering life. The courts have released all three on their own recognizance on Tuesday morning.
At 7:30 this morning a small group of protesters gathered in Sarnia, Ontario to protest Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline. Professional protester Vanessa Gray claimed “tar sands projects represent an ongoing cultural and environmental genocide.” Her partner Sarah Schanlon declared “when, not if, when it leaks it will be polluting and making water and air filled with chemicals across Ontario…we understand that bitumen is untreatable- which means that there’s no way to get it out of the drinking water, there’s no way of getting it out of the water that’s going into the food that we need consume.”
So, how do a group of anti-energy activists protest the “environmental genocide” of an future “untreatable” oil spills from a pipeline they’ve claimed is “too old” to be operated reliably? Simple – but dangerously stupid – they cut through the locks of a manually operated valve station, executed an unscheduled shut-down of the pipeline, and locked their necks to the wheel to prevent maintenance and emergency staff from turning it back on or off.
The protest was a copy-cat of the December 7th Line 9 tampering in Quebec. Both cases caused unscheduled shut-downs of Line 9, neither appear to have consulted experts who could tell them how safe or dangerous their actions were. In the worst-case scenario people could have died- if they truly believe that pipeline spills are “untreatable”, it took a special kind of stupid for them to have taken this risk.
The Who’s Who of the Irresponsible Zoo...
Media and observers have reported on three primary actors behind today’s hideously stupid protest; Vanessa Gray of Sarnia, Ont, Sarah Scanlon of Guelph, Ont, and Stone Stewart of unknown. A video released by the radical-left Richochet Media appears to show all three taking turns closing the valve, and film from the earlier protest in Quebec. Also shown in the video is Vanessa’s sister Lindsay Gray.
Train tamperer Mike Roy, and Jeremy Larivee (both from London, Ont) were on the scene from the beginning. Their photographs covered the protest end-to-end from using bold cutters to break through the fence, to tampering with the valve, to locking themselves to the wheel with bicycle u-locks, and the police taking them into custody. Roy has a long history with the police including an early morning raid for vandalism charges and with his involvement in previous Line 9 protests.
Both Roy and Gray have participated in previous Ontario Line 9 protests, and the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Ontario Common Front. Gray was featured speaker at Powershift events sponsored by the Polaris Institute, and was on the stage with David Suzuki, Neil Young, Chief Alan Adam, and Love Is The Movement tattoo cult member Eriel Deranger. Gray was also at last summer’s Camp Line 9 in Quebec where she was joined by Alyssa Symons-Belanger- leader of the December 7 Line 9 shutdown. Ce n’est pas une coincidence?
Perhaps the biggest irony of this dangerously stupid protest was that the Starfish.ca profiled Gray as an “advocate and steward of environmental health” last year. Now she’s helping put the environment at risk with a reckless protest that puts people and the environment at more risk.
Gray, Scanlon, and Stweart are being held in custody overnight. They’ll be in court on Tuesday morning, speculation is that they’re facing serious charges.
Note: It’s my strong belief that the vast majority of First Nations activists would never consider a reckless stunt like today’s. Gray’s behaviour should not be taken as the hypocrisy of First Nations activists, but the hypocrisy of NGO Industrial Complex that Gray has got caught-up in.