Working Hard to Safeguard Paddling Assets for All Canadians

All about Whitewater

All about Whitewater
A Blog about River Preservation and the need to protect our free flowing whitewater resources

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What is monkey wrenching? Its illegal!

As a citizen in a democracy, one has the obligation to educate oneself about the issues, to comment in a constructive and informed way and influence public opinion and social policy concerning how one's government operates. Anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “never depend on government or institutions to create change. All significant social change in human history was accomplished by individual action.”

What if that whole process, however, is heavily stacked against the citizen?

History has demonstrated that when faced with totalitarian government, fascist government, change does not proceed peacefully. Even in the bastion of "freedom", the USA, one of the most bitter and deadly revolutions took place.  It was messy, brutal and deadly. - 300 × 229 -  imageby Joe Verica
Monkey wrenching is the process by which citizens proceed to undermine authority, anonimously and illegally, to the extreme.

The free dictionary defines it as
2. Informal Something that disrupts: He threw a monkey wrench into our plans.
Edward Abbey, widely recognized as the founder of the environmental movement in the SW USA adopted this concept in his comic adventure eco terrorist tale by the same name.

Some of the literature available about Monkey wrenching include:
Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching [Paperback]
Dave Foreman
People are tired of talk and collaboration and are willing to pay the price of their convictions through radical strategy, tactics and techniques.  The tactics of monkey-wrenching aren't for everyone espeically those who try to work "within the system" to bring about changes in public complacency and corporation-driven public policy.

It is entirely reprinted here:

Another definition of monkey wrenching:

"Monkeywrenching" is a term first used in a book about eco-terror, "The Monkey Wrench Gang," written by Edward Abbey in 1975. is a popular term for methods of eco-defense, including spiking trees, disabling vehicles and stopping up waste pipes. Monkeywrenching techniques also were described in the 1985 book by Dave Foreman called "Field Guide to Monkey Wrenching." The Abbey and Foreman books are used as how-to manuals for eco-defense. see:
 The urban dictionary has another similar description:

1. Monkeywrenching
A type of most oftenly illegal sabotage for the means of slowing down, or making it counter effective to continue with a certain activity. Or simply to spread chaos.

Often used by activist for ecodefense against government sanctioned activity (clear cutting, polluting, etc.) by means of spiking trees, sugar in gas tanks of equipment, etc. Can also used against the statis quo and corporate america by wheat pasting bill boards, filling pay phones with vanille pudding, etc.

The best monkey wrenchers are never caught because they usually work alone and never tell anyone of their doings for that is how one is caught.
The wise geek has offered this definition:

Monkeywrenching is a form of sabotage that focuses on creating serious economic damage, thus putting a temporary or permanent halt to activities that the perpetrator believes are undesirable. The activity is closely associated with the environmental movement, although other causes have embraced monkeywrenching as well. Different saboteurs are governed by different ethical codes, and a number of guides to creating this type of damage have been published for those who might be seeking inspiration.
The concept of throwing a monkey wrench into a situation to confuse it dates back to the late 1800s. By 1918, the term “throw a wrench in the works” was used specifically in the context of industrial sabotage. Activists who fought for better working conditions and pay might choose to directly damage corporate machinery in the hopes of causing a standstill in factory operations. While the equipment was repaired, the workers could put forth their requests. Workers would also deliberately destroy machinery owned by companies with questionable practices, in the hopes of shutting them down.
The most extreme source of information appears to come from
As radical as the principle appears: it claims to have some rules so that a campaign of resistance would adhere to the following principles: 
Monkeywrenching is nonviolent
  • never directed against human beings or other forms of life
  • aimed at inanimate machines and tools that are destroying life
  • minimize any possible threat to people, including the monkeywrenchers themselves.
Monkeywrenching is not organized
  • no central direction or organization to monkeywrenching.
  •  individual action
  •  difficult and dangerous.
  • Anonymous discussion only
Monkeywrenching is individual
  •  Trust and a good working relationship are essential
  • beware the dangers of infiltration or a loose mouth.
Monkeywrenching is targeted
  • Mindless, erratic vandalism is counterproductive as well as unethical.
  • the most vulnerable point of a wilderness-destroying project is struck
Monkeywrenching is timely
  • no action when there is a nonviolent civil disobedience action  or delicate political negotiations are taking place for the protection of a certain area.
Monkeywrenching is dispersed
Monkeywrenching is diverse
Monkeywrenching is fun
Monkeywrenching is not revolutionary
No major industrial sabotage. Explosives, firearms, and other dangerous tools are usually avoided;
Monkeywrenching is simple
The monkeywrencher asks, What is the simplest way to do this?
Monkeywrenching is deliberate and ethical
 The purpose is protecting life, defending Earth.

To all this I will add:

Monkeywrenching is illegal and punishable by severe penalties
The penalties for ecoterrorists are varied and severe:  For example one piece of legislation attempts to define the consequences of tree spiking (which reduces the economic value of forests and therefore discourages clearcutting...
Whoever — (1) with the intent to violate the Controlled Substances Act, (2) with the intent to obstruct or harass the harvesting of timber, or (3) with reckless disregard to the risk that another person will be placed in danger of death or bodily injury ... uses a hazardous or injurious device on Federal land, or on an Indian Reservation ... shall be punished under subsection (b).
Subsection (b) spells out the penalties:
(1) If death of an individual results, [the person convicted] shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both; (2) if serious bodily injury to any individual results, be fined ... or imprisoned for not more than twenty years, or both; (3) if bodily injury to any individual results, be fined ... or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; (4) if damage exceeding $10, 000 to the property of any individual results, be fined ... or imprisoned for not more than ten years, or both; and (5) in any other case, be fined ... or im-prisoned for not more than one year.

some plain talk from Edward Abbey himself

1 comment:

Peter Karwacki said...

Canadian Rivers

Canadian Rivers
I speak for river users too!

The Queen is not amused!

The Queen is not amused!

The Damned Dam - 2005 -

The Damned Dam - 2005 -
22nd Annual Kipaw Rally has modest turnout. - 23rd does better

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

The Ashlu river: it could happen to you

Whitewater Ontario

Whitewater Ontario
Working Hard to Protect Canada's Paddling Resources

Whitewater Ontario - Mission Statement

It is Whitewater Ontario’s mission to support the whitewater paddling community through the promotion, development and growth of the sport in its various disciplines. We accomplish this through the development of events, resources, clubs, and programs for personal and athletic development, regardless of skill level or focus, to ensure a high standard of safety and competency; We advocate safe and environmentally responsible access and use of Ontario’s rivers. Whitewater Ontario is the sport governing body in the province, and represents provincial interests within the national body Whitewater Canada and the Canadian Canoe Association

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican

Kipawa, Tabaret, and Opemican
If Hydro Quebec is not actively pursuing Tabaret what is that bite out of Opemican for?

Kipawa Dam: After

Kipawa Dam: After
Laniel Dam at 2006 Rally

Where is the Kipawa

Where is the Kipawa
Kipawa flows into lake Temiskamingue, running from Kipawa Lake, under hwy 101 in Quebec

Kipawa Dam

Kipawa Dam
laniel dam at 2004 River Rally

Tabaret is a Bad Idea

About the Kipawa

The best thing paddlers can do to help the cause of the Kipawa:

1. attend the rally and bring others including non paddlers to attend and buy beer and have fun

2. write your MP /MNA and raise the issue and post your objections -1 letter = 200 who didn't write

3. Write Thierry Vandal the CEO of Hydro Quebec strongly opposing the 132 MW standard decrying the use of "diversion" as the most environmentally inappropriate method of power production

4. Write Jean Charest, Premier of Quebec protesting that either the algonquin or the tabaret project will eliminate all other values on the Kipawa River by turning it into a dry gulch.

5. See if you can get other allied groups interested by showing your own interest, ie the Sierra Defense Fund, Earthwild, MEC, and so on.

6. Demand further consultation

7. Currently we are at the point where we need to sway public opinion and raise awareness.

However, if all else fails, don't get mad, simply disrupt, foment, and protest . The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Have you read Edward Abbey?

Important Addresses
CEO,Hydro Québec, 75 boul René Levesque, Montreal, P.Q., H2Z

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Two)

Les Amis de la Riviere Kipawa is poised to use an application to the Federal Court to issue a Writ of Mandamus to ensure the Minster does what he is supposed to do, protect the public's right to navigate the water control structure at Laniel, Quebec using the Navigable Waters Protection Act. (see

In the now gutted Navigable Waters Protection Act lay the means by which the Minister of Transport could keep the public right of passage down our great Canadian Heritage, our rivers and streams which are threatened especially by resource corporations and power brokers such as Hydro Quebec.

These powerful entities continue to petition that 'this' river or 'that' stream is not navigable and therefore not protectable.
I don't say that dams and bridges should not be built, only that if they are, historical navigation rights should be considered and preserved by making reasonable accommodations for recreational boaters.

It is the Minister of Transport, in exercising the right to allow or disallow work on or over a navigable waterway is what keeps boats and recreational boaters plying our waterways.

To many recent cases launched in the Federal Court concerning the Navigable Waters Protection Act, most recently the case of the Humber Environment Group of Cornerbrook Newfoundland versus the Cornerbrook Pulp and Paper Company indicates that the important oversight is not being faithfully performed. Have we really come to the point now where we must say "such and such a stream is one foot deep, possessing so many cubic feet per second flow and so on?" The answer to this is... YES!

The honourable Mr. Justice John A. O'Keefe, ruled that it had not been shown that the river was navigable. How convenient was that to the Minister? But either the Minister of Transport acts to protect our rivers and streams as a public right or he does not and that means rivers and streams currently enjoyed by kayakers and canoists.

Enough of the cheating, and double-talk. Canadians! our rivers and streams are our own, lets urge the Minister of Transport and the our government to protect them.

Peter Karwacki

Tabaret is a Bad Idea (Part Three)

10 Reasons WhyTabaret is a Bad Idea1) Tabaret is too big. The station is designed to useevery drop of water available in the Kipawawatershed, but will run at only 44 percent capacity.We believe the Tabaret station is designed to usewater diverted from the Dumoine River into theKipawa watershed in the future. 2) The Tabaret project will eliminate the aquaticecosystem of the Kipawa River.The Tabaret project plan involves the diversion of a16-km section of the Kipawa River from its naturalstreambed into a new man-made outflow from LakeKipawa. 3) Tabaret will leave a large industrial footprint on thelandscape that will impact existing tourismoperations and eliminate future tourism potential. 4) The Tabaret project is an aggressive single-purposedevelopment, designed to maximize powergeneration at the expense of all other uses. 5) River-diversion, such as the Tabaret project, takinglarge amounts of water out of a river’s naturalstreambed and moving it to another place, is verydestructive to the natural environment. 6) The Kipawa River has been designated a protectedgreenspace in the region with severe limitations ondevelopment. This designation recognizes theecological, historical and natural heritage value ofthe river and the importance of protecting it.Tabaret will eliminate that value. 7) If necessary, there are other, smarter and morereasonable options for producing hydro power onthe Kipawa watershed. It is possible to build a lowimpactgenerating station on the Kipawa river, andmanage it as a “run-of-the-river” station, makinguse of natural flows while maintaining other values,with minimal impact on the environment. 8) The Kipawa watershed is a rich natural resource forthe Temiscaming Region, resonably close to largeurban areas, with huge untapped potential fortourism and recreation development in the future.Tabaret will severely reduce this potential. 9) Tabaret provides zero long-term economic benefitfor the region through employment. The plan is forthe station to be completely automated andremotely operated. 10) The Kipawa River is 12,000 years old. The riverwas here thousands of years before any peoplecame to the region. The Tabaret project will change all that.

Problems on a local River?

  • There is more to do as well but you have to do your research and above all, don't give up.
  • IN the meantime prepared a document itemizing the history of navigation of this spot and its recreational value. Use the Kipawa river history of navigation as a guide: see
  • Under the Ministry of Environment guidelines you have a set period of time to petition the change under the environmental bill of rights, you may have limited time to take this action. But it involves going to court for a judicial review of the decision.
  • 4. contact the ministry of natural resources officials and do the same thing.
  • 3. contact the ministry of the environment and determine if they approved the project
  • 2. determine if the dam was a legal dam, approved under the navigable waters protection act.
  • 1. research the decision and timing of it to determine if an environmental assessment was done.

Minden Ontario

Minden Ontario
Gull River Water control at Horseshoe lake

A History of Navigation on the Kipawa River

Prior to the environmental assessment there was no signage at the Laniel Dam

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!

T-Shirts Area: These are available now!
Send $25 and a stamped self addressed envelop for the Tshirt, and for the bumper sticker, a stamped and self addressed envelope with $5.00 for the bumper sticker to Les Amis de la rivière Kipawa, 80 Ontario St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1K 1K9 or click the link To purchase a Les Amis "T" contact Doug with the following information: Number of shirts:Sizes: Ship to Address: Method of Payment: cash, cheque and paypal, Shipto address:

Bumper Stickers Now Available

Bumper Stickers Now Available
Get your bumper sticker and show your support for the Kipawa Legal Fund ! - send $5.00 in a Stamped, self addressed envelope to: Peter Karwacki Box 39111, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1H 7X0