Ex­trem­ists say they tar­geted oil firm CEO

Aim of at­tack in Que­bec City to stop frack­ing

Regina Leader-Post - - NP - TOM BLACK­WELL

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.”

Jean-Yves Lavoie

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