• James Parry

Hudsonite June Kendall arrested for backing Greenpeace pipeline protest

PHOTO COURTESY FREDERIC BLEAU

Hudson resident June Kendall, citing her love of community, waterways, and the environment, chained herself to the fence gate of the Valero Energy dock at the Old Port of Montreal on Monday, December 5, to be arrested along with five other Greenpeace protesters all of whom will appear in court to face as yet unspecified charges in January.

Long-time Hudson resident and Greenpeace activist for the past decade or so, June Kendall was back home on Quarry Point Tuesday, December 6, after spending six hours chained to a fence gate and another nine in a jail cell in downtown Montreal following her arrest the previous day.

Kendall was one of six activists who showed up at 6 a.m. at the Valero docks in the city's east where tanker ships are loaded with bitumen from Alberta's oil sands in what she describes as an extremely well planned protest that achieved its goal.

Namely, to raise greater public awareness of the need to stop pipelines so as to protect our water and climate.

Said Kendall in an exclusive interview with Your Local Journal, “This pipeline is extremely dangerous and just a few miles from where we live here in Hudson. Imagine what the impact would be on both our waterways and environment if there should ever be a spill or leakage for whatever reason.

Particularly in the winter when it could be under the ice. By the time they get to cleaning it up, it could be another four or five months. It simply has to go!”

PHOTO BY JAMES PARRY Back home on Quarry Point, June Kendall, along with fellow protestors and a Greenpeace lawyer, will be going to court on January 16.

While specific charges are not yet known, Kendall - together with her five fellow activists, including two who climbed onto pipe infrastructure at the port unfurling a giant banner - will be going to court accompanied by a Greenpeace lawyer on January 16 to have a trial date set.

This is an experience she has been through before on behalf of Greenpeace including when she and fellow activists were arrested on the roof of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa in 2009 during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and protesting that Canada was not doing enough in this regard.

“It always seems to happen in the winter when it is freezing cold,” laughed Kendall who takes her involvement with Greenpeace very seriously.

“I will always be there for them when they need me,” said Kendall. “I really believe in what they are doing and we share the same values and priorities. The Canadian government is constantly backing up the oil industry and fossil producers instead of investing money in development of renewable energy. And we believe this to be wrong.”

As for her day that began chained to the gate at the docks, Kendall explained. “We got there early so that vehicles entering the dock would not be able to automatically raise it electronically without sending us up with it. When the police arrived, they were incredibly polite and very courteous but didn't have the right size cutters for the chains. That gave us some extra time to get our point across.”

Once freed around 11.30 a.m., Kendall was taken to the station where she was processed, patted down, and checked for possibly anything metal that she could be carrying, before being placed in a cell where she would remain until about 9 p.m.

“The police could not have been more respectful,” she said. “But I wasn't going to make it too easy for them when I was freed and carted off. They had to carry me.”

Upon her release, Kendall and the five others were greeted in the station's lobby by fellow Greenpeace organizers and supporters. “I was so surprised that they had not been forced to wait outside in the cold and it was really appreciated,” she said. After which, they all went to a party at the Greenpeace offices in Montreal celebrating, in her own words, mission accomplished.

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