Tar sands come to Ontario: No Line 9!

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Join me at this important day of resistance, education, and alternatives in Toronto, November 17

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Join me at this important  day of resistance, education, and alternatives in Toronto, November 17

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10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, November 17, a
Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George St., between College and Harbord.

Special guests

  • Art Sterritt,  Executive Director, Coastal First Nations
  • Wes Elliott, Haudenosaunee land defender
  • Maude Barlow, Chairperson, Council of Canadians
  • Dave Coles, Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union President


  • Tar sands in our communities
  • Tar sands and workers: the climate jobs alternative
  • Climate justice and the Global South
  • Tar sands and structural causes of climate change
  • Legal initiatives against tar sands injustice

Register on Facebook

PDF Leaflet


More from my notebook… 


  • David Coles is an ally in the fight to stop the Northern Gateway pipeline, the Keystone XL pipeline, the epansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and the Transpacific Trails fracked-gas pipeline – for one reason: all of these pipelines would export Canadian fossil hydrocarbon resources offshore, along with Canadian jobs.

    He does not oppose the extraction of bitumen from the Alberta tar sands (jobs for his union members), and he is in favour of sending tar sands bitumen – by pipeline – to be refined and processed in other parts of Canada (jobs for his union members). The federal NDP agrees with him.

    When the Line 9 Reversal Phase 1 is approved, allowing the shipment of diluted Alberta bitumen (“dilbit”) through the USA, across to Sarnia, Ontario, and eastward to Westover, Ontario, Dave Coles will be breaking out the champagne, because it means more jobs for his union members at Imperial Oil’s Nanticoke refinery near Westover. In fact, the Line 9 Reversal Phase 1 project is exactly the kind of project his union officially supports (see the quote I posted yesterday).

    His union’s website reproduces without comment an editorial from the right-wing, pro-pipeline Calgary Herald newspaper, which includes the following paragraph:

    The Line 9 reversal would seem like a no-brainer. It would give Quebec and Atlantic Canada – which currently get 80 per cent of their crude from Europe, Africa and the Middle East – a reliable source of domestic oil. As Joseph Gargiso of the Communications, Energy and Paperworker’s Union said in support of the line reversal: “A country that is blessed with petroleum resources like Canada should first and foremost assure that the country as a whole has access to a guaranteed supply.”

  • Organizers of the “The Tar Sands Come to Ontario” conference wanted it to include a dialogue with representatives of the oilfield and pipeline workers. We contacted the
    CEP, which is Canada’s union of oil workers, along with organizations advocating for migrant workers. In initiating such a dialogue, we do not assume agreement. But Coles’s remarks
    in Victoria indicates that an important area of agreement exists with regard to pipeline projects for export of bitumen, and Ontario’s Line 9 project is in that category.

    Dave Coles spoke at the big anti-tar sands pipeline rally in Victoria on October 22. Check out his remarks at http://rabble.ca/rabbletv/program-guide/2012/10/best-net/cep-president-dave-coles-speaks-defendourcoast-rally-victori

  • “One of these things is not like the others,
    One of these things just doesn’t belong.”

    I thought of this Sesame Street song when I saw the list of Special Guests, above.

    As recently as April 2012, union boss David Coles was singing the praises of a fossil fuel pipeline from Alberta to the east, complaining that a key national energy issue for Canadians is the lack of a pipeline from Alberta to anywhere in Ontario, Quebec or the Maritimes. “We need to have access for the majority of the citizens of Canada to the oil and gas of the west,” he said. His main concern is maintaining union jobs in the fossil fuel resource extraction and processing industries.

    The union’s position on the east-west pipeline is officially in favour of “an expansion of east-west oil pipeline capacity, including building a pipeline entirely located in Canada, to bring oil from Western Canada to the East.”

    Has David Coles changed his mind, or is he just on the program for comic relief?