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For Immediate Release, Friday November 27th 2020 Contact:
Maayan Kreitzman (XR Vancouver) 604 723 9577 Vincent Blondeau (XR Québec) 438 880 6497

Vancouver and Montreal rail lines blocked in response to Indigenous calls to action, demanding Trudeau cancel the TransMountain pipeline

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) and Tio’tia:ke (MONTREAL, QC) — Pipeline opponents are again setting up rail blockades across Canada. In solidarity with calls to action by land defenders from the Indigenous nations from coast to coast under the hashtag #landback, demonstrators will block rail lines in both Vancouver and Montreal at 12:30 PM Pacific/ 3:30 Eastern. In Vancouver, people will rally in Burnaby near Burlington Ave and Government St and walk onto the rail line that runs directly parallel to the Trans Mountain Expansion route. The route regularly ships oil by rail. In Montreal, the rally will take place at the railway near Van Horne’s Skate Park, behind 15 Bernard St. E.. The demonstrations will be non-violent and peaceful.

“Let us not think of ourselves, but of our children’s children,” said Eric Masuskapoe, quoting an oral teaching from the Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation where he is from. “Kiyam” he said. Masuskapoe is a two-spirit Nehiyaw (Cree) person who was present at the action in Vancouver.

“Today we are responding to calls to action from Indigenous peoples by disrupting two major rail lines on both sides of the country - one directly in the path of Trudeau’s pipeline. Indigneous peoples have been on front lines protecting land and water for a long time. #LandBack means returning land that was dispossessed by the colonial state to Indigenous control. This is also part of solving the climate and ecological crisis by taking the lead from Indigenous peoples, many of whom know how to be part of living systems in a good way. Extractive and fossil fuel projects that lack consent and ignore scientific and traditional knowledge put our future in grave jeopardy” said Solène Tessier, a volunteer spokesperson.

The civil-disobedience action, organized by Extinction Rebellion’s Vancouver and Quebec chapters, takes place as TranMountain pipeline construction begins in the lower mainland and continues elsewhere throughout BC. Nine arrests took place in Secwepemc territory near Kamloops in October when hereditary leaders and supporters occupied a TransMountain drill site. The Coastal GasLink pipeline is also pushing ahead with construction in Wet’suwet’en territory despite ongoing resistance from hereditary chiefs. The Canada Energy Regulator released a report this week stating that there is no need for any pipeline expansion if Canada takes measures to curb GHGs, and a recent warning from economists notes that the TransMountain project is no longer financially viable. Indigenous groups, as well as the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have pointed out the connection between resource extraction man-camps and violence against Indigenous women.

Directions Vancouver: Rally at the Costco parking lot on Government and Burlington, near Production Way University sky train. Blockade at Government and Cariboo.

Montreal : Van Horne SkatePark, the track is at the back.

Background

TMX was purchased by the federal government from KinderMorgan in 2018. In February, TMX announced the cost of the pipeline expansion had soared from $7.4 billion to 12. 6 billion.

In February 2020, demonstrators set up rail blockades across Canada in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ opposition to the Coastal Gas Pipeline.

Over 200 people have been arrested in peaceful civil disobedience actions on Burnaby Mountain in opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline, mostly in 2018. Opposition continues, with nine people including Secwepemc hereditary leaders getting arrested near Kamloops for standing in the way of pipeline construction in October 2020.

About Extinction Rebellion:

Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken. Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an international grassroots movement that uses nonviolent direct action to mobilize the public to drive systemic change in the face of the climate and ecological crisis. Extinction Rebellion is fully made up of volunteers and relies solely on donations.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government. Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are: TELL THE TRUTH - Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change. ACT NOW - Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025. BEYOND POLITICS - Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice. ###