‘Freedom Train’ rails against Enbridge

Wet’suwet’en and other First Nations leaders protested against Enbridge’s Gateway pipeline project at the company’s shareholders’ meeting.

Wet’suwet’en and other B.C. First Nations leaders protested against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project in an unlikely venue, the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Toronto.

John Ridsdale, a Wet’suwet’en natural resources coordinator, said the group received enough proxy shares in the Calgary-based oil company that he and two others can speak directly to Enbridge investors.

The Enbridge shareholder’s meeting is the last stop for Ridsdale and about 40 other First Nations protesters who together rode a “Freedom Train” from Jasper to Toronto, holding rallies and water ceremonies along the way.

“The idea is to educate all Canadians about the Enbridge project, but also the fact that our government is making the environmental protection laws so weak and so pro-industry that our voice is not being heard,” Ridsdale said.

The “Freedom Train” idea harkens back to the Constitution Express of 1980—a similar protest train that brought aboriginal people to Ottawa to demand full indigenous rights in the upcoming Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ridsdale said the protest shows First Nations are united against the plan to ship oil sands bitumen across their traditional territories to the coast.

“If Enbridge had not caused all this year’s trouble for the First Nations, we wouldn’t be as united as we are,” he said.


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