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Victory against plan to dump Toronto garbage in abandoned Adams mine

Jamie Kneen Communications and Outreach Coordinator responsible for: strategic research, social media, and public engagement; our Africa program, environmental assessment, and uranium mining.

With First Nations, angry residents of north Eastern Ontario, and environmentally conscious people around the world, Brennain Lloyd of Northwatch (our co-chair) is claiming victory in the struggle to stop the plans to ship Toronto's garbage 600 kilometres north by rail and dump it in an abandoned Kirkland Lake mine. Toronto cancelled the contract at the last minute, after having pushed it through city council.

Carol McBride, chief of the Temiskaming First Nation, had said that with Toronto's council approval of the plan, she expected a wave of civil disobedience by northern Ontarians. "When we talk about the idea that this will make Oka look like a picnic, it is because not only are First Nations involved, but so are all northerners," she said.

Protest over the garbage plan has been brewing for months. In early October, demonstrators formed a human blockade that prevented access to the rail line leading to the mine dump site. Members of the Temiskaming First Nation briefly blockaded the railway tracks near Earlton, and the area's MPP said people are bracing for an Oka-like standoff.

Toronto's garbage will now be sent to existing landfills in Michigan, something Michigan legislators are powerless to prevent due to provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement that treat garbage as a commodity. At least trash has become an issue in Toronto, and we may see the city become serious about recycling and waste diversion.