Extremists say they targeted oil firm CEO
Aim of attack in Quebec City to stop fracking
Environmental activists say they doused an oil company CEO’s home with paint and extensively damaged his cars during a recent nighttime raid in Quebec City, a rare and “very personal” targeting by eco-extremists of an industry executive.
An anonymous article from the supposed perpetrators said their goal was to dismantle Quebec’s fledgling oil and gas business, mentioning, in particular, fracking operations in the province’s Gaspé region.
They also claimed allegiance with Indigenous groups in the message reposted by the U.S.-based Site Intelligence Group.
“We have smashed the windows of his cars, without forgetting to slash the tires. We also covered the house in paint,” they said of Jean-Yves Lavoie, the CEO of Junex Inc. “We will do what is necessary in order to stop companies like Junex from carrying out their destructive plans.”
An earlier posting on an activist blog had urged action against Quebec’s oil and gas industry — which was controversially given a green light by provincial legislation last year — and named Lavoie as one potential target.
Junex recently partnered with a Quebec government agency on one of its oil projects in the Gaspésie.
A spokeswoman for the executive said Thursday he did not want to comment on the matter because it is under criminal investigation.
Cyndi Paré, a Quebec City police spokeswoman, confirmed that an investigation is underway of a “mischief ” incident on the night — Nov. 16 — and in the neighbourhood mentioned in the posting. But she said she could not confirm the name of the alleged victim.
An expert who follows environmental demonstrations against pipelines and other energy projects said the event seems to be an “escalation” in such behaviour.
“In my experience, pipeline or ‘anti-energy’ activity has focused on energy infrastructure,” said Warren Mabee, director of Queen’s University’s Institute for Energy & Environmental Policy. “People may try to damage pumping stations or to vandalize equipment at depots; the (online) description is of a very personal attack.”
Meanwhile, in what appears to be another unreported action against the industry, an anonymous posting in September claims that saboteurs drilled holes and poured corrosive material into lengths of pipe to be installed in an Enbridge pipeline in southern Ontario.
Mabee said active opposition to oil and gas development has been growing in recent years, while public awareness of the projects and proposals is at “an alltime high” here and in other countries.
“These are very contentious projects and … people from all sides want to have their voice heard,” he said in an email. “It’s a timely reminder to governments that it is critically important to have open and broad discussions about proposed energy projects well in advance of any approvals.”
Quebec is not exactly synonymous with oil and gas, but a number of companies are actively exploring, and the province’s legislature passed a bill in December that allows the industry to move ahead.
The province did also halt oil and gas exploration on the St. Lawrence River’s scenic Anticosti Island this summer, but a week later announced it would invest $14 million into Junex’s properties on the Gaspé Peninsula.
Junex claims its various properties throughout Quebec have a potential yield of 20 million barrels of oil.
The authors of the article on the vandalism attack vowed to stop the firm and its CEO.
“His dream of becoming rich through the destruction of territory will not come to pass,” they predicted. “Collective efforts of earth defence — blockades, support camps, demos, education campaigns … will be much more powerful than the work of Mr. Lavoie and Junex can accomplish in one life.”