Tracey Mann at No Enbridge, No Pipelines Noise Demo

Posted by admin on Jan 22nd, 2013

Dispossession Displacement and Division

My name is Tracey Jastinder Mann. I am an member of No One is Illegal, a grassroots collective focusing on migrant justice. I come here with great respect and admiration for the resistance that is being shown here today. I also express gratitude to the Tslei-watuth, Burarrd, Musqueum and Squamish nations whose unceded territories we stand on today. I see this action as another step towards building a broader movement that resists the dispossession, displacement and division that is promoted by the Canadian state’s neo-liberal agenda. I am so excited to see groups that are often siloed or divided stand here together to resist the Enbridge Pipeline. My hope is that we continue to see how our struggles intersect and continue to find ways to work together effectively and with integrity.

Today, I want to highlight how migrant justice, environmental justice and indigenous sovereignty movements are all resisting the dispossession, displacement and division that the Enbridge pipeline symbolizes. Dispossession, displacement and division of communities, people and territories are not new, as these are the tactics were used to establish the Canadian state through its colonial nation building process. Denial of climate change, environmental destruction and the impacts of neo-colonialism on communities create the conditions for projects like Enbridge to become a reality.

Colonization on Turtle Island attempted to dispossess people of their land, to displace them from their territories and to divide communities through acts of state sponsored genocide and violence. In active resistance to these efforts, Indigenous communities across Turtle Island have continued to survive, thrive and actively challenge this ongoing occupation.

The Enbridge Pipeline project highlights how capitalism disconnects communities from the land and the ecosystem. It is part of Canada’s neo-colonial project that worships economic growth and actively downplays the social and environmental costs of such projects. A project like Enbridge benefits global elite while promoting a culture of denial. This project highlights the Canadian states denial of indigenous sovereignty, it participates in the denial of the exploitation of thousands of people and is in denial of the devastating environmental destruction that is linked to the Enbridge pipline.

We know that the impacts of climate change and ecosystems disruptions linked to capitalist expansion are felt most severely by racialized communities both locally and globally. We see that lethal and environmentally destructive industries degrade Indigenous territories and are often situated in close proximity to communities that are largely made
up of people of colour. In addition, there is a displacement of people of colour, who rarely possess leadership roles within the environmental movement despite being the communities who bear the brunt of environmental burdens. The Canadian government has reduced the so-called “environmental red tape” so that environmentally devastating projects can be fast tracked without considering the long term impacts to communities and the environment. Again, both locally and globally, Indigenous and racialized communities will experience the majority of the displacement and dispossession that is connected to environmental destruction and climate change.

Neo-liberal projects such as the Enbridge pipeline also threaten migrant justice. Economically disadvantaged communities, which are largely made up of people of colour, are displaced through climate change. When migrants labourers come to Canada, they are exploited through wage slave labour conditions. The Conservative government has legislated the exploitation of temporary foreign workers as a result of a policy that allows for employers to pay temporary foreign workers 15% less that their Canadian counterparts. It is believed that many temporary foreign workers will be exploited in order to build the Enbridge pipeline.

Environmental refugees are becoming a reality. The displacement of communities will persist if we continue to promote projects such as the Enbridge pipeline. Climate change related environmental disturbances will result in the displacement of indigenous populations and racialized communities living in economically disadvantaged nations. Our continued extraction and use of fossil fuels will only further exacerbate climate change. We demand that we reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and that we look to indigenous communities for guidance on how to repair our relationship with the planet. We need to move away from a pattern of exploitation, and destruction to a place of humility and respect towards the earth and its people.

Finally I want to speak more about another factor at play. This is the culture of denial that we exist in. The Canadian government denies the implications of this history of colonization, it denies people access to their land, it denies that there are environmental risks associated with Enbridge.

In resisting this project, we are actively working to create a world where people can move freely and no one is forcibly displaced. We envision a future of joyful and truly sustainable communities that are held together not by domination, but by a deep connection to each other and to the Earth.

Thank you to everyone here today who has come together to resist these processes and to resist Enbridge.

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