(A trailer, debris and a smouldering fire was all that was left at the former site of the Sarnia blockade Thursday. APTN Photo)
By Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
Sarnia – When members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia agreed to shut down their blockade of a CN Rail line Wednesday at midnight that was believed to be the end of it.
But it’s not over.
Saturday they will attempt to block traffic on the Blue Water Bridge that also serves as the US/Canada border access.
And then they’re going to get strategic explains spokesman Ron Plain, who has been the face of the blockade almost from the beginning and as result is facing possible punishment from the Superior Court of Justice.
“Now that the blockade is down there will be a Phase 2 and that will include roving blockades,” he said at his home in Sarnia Thursday.
They intend to shut down access to selected factories here for up to days at a time in the area known as Chemical Valley.
“In my vision of what can happen I’ll look at the research of a company, for example Imperial Oil. I will look globally at what Imperial Oil’s record is with Indigenous peoples, as well as their record of dealing with us here in Aamjiwnanng,” said Plain, as part of wide-ranging interview with APTN National News that will look at the intimate details of the nearly two-week blockade to be aired next week.
He said he will use that research to determine how to proceed, but a site hasn’t been picked yet.
“From that we will base a campaign against Imperial Oil saying this is what we want as we block you,” he said. “It may be a 12-hour blockade, a 24-hour blockade, 36-hour blockade.”
That will be determined by an organizing committee that plans to meet soon and is expected to keep the city updated. Mayor Mike Bradley said he was aware of further action but was happy the blockade came to a peaceful conclusion, which was echoed by Sarnia police Chief Phil Nelson.
The selected factory will also be notified in advance of any action said Plain.
Plain said the blockade of a CN spur line was ended in a negotiated settlement with Sarnia police after an Ontario judge ordered it shut down Wednesday.
Plain called it the first victory of the Idle No More movement.
He said the blockade, which began Dec. 21, 2012, had proven its point and didn’t need to continue. Plain said they were already negotiating to have the blockade end on Saturday.
The blockade was originally launched in support of hunger-striking Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s demand for a treaty meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Gov. Gen. David Johnston and First Nations leaders.
Plain was found in contempt Wednesday of a court injunction ordering an end to the blockade. He was ordered by the court not to go near the site of the blockade unless it involved negotiating its end.
Plain is scheduled to be in court Friday to learn what happens as a result of the comptempt of court order.
“I have to go back to court tomorrow and find out whether anthing is going to come to me for being the spokesman for the campaign,” he said.
The ending to the Aamjiwnaang blockade leaves only the Mi’kmaq from Listuguj First Nation still holding a rail blockade. The Mi’kmaq there have been blocking the railway at Pointe-a-la-Croix in Quebec since Dec. 28, 2012.
More rail and highway blockades, however, are expected in the coming days and weeks.
First Nations chiefs are planning to hold a national day of action on Jan. 16 which could see the beginning of indefinite blockades across the country.