Skip to main content

Gov’t set to break pledge, claim protesters

The Chronicle-Journal,
Jodi Lundmark,
January 16 2016

A coalition of Thunder Bay environmental groups are urging the federal government to stop the review processes on two oil pipeline projects.

On Friday, about a dozen people rallied outside of Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Patty Hajdu’s constituency office on Red River Road and delivered a letter addressed to Hajdu and Thunder Bay-Rainy River MP Don Rusnak asking them for their support in halting the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipeline in Burnaby, B.C., and the Energy East pipline, which would run through Lake Superior’s watershed.

“The Liberals made a really strong campaign promise to not allow pipeline reviews to go ahead before the flawed process was fixed,” said Paul Berger, member of Citizens United for a Sustainable Planet.

The Liberal platform stated they would ensure environmental assessments included greenhouse gas emissions and upstream impacts.

After they won the election, the Liberals attended the Paris climate talks and agreed to limit global warming to 1.5 C, said Berger.

“Now they’re set to break the promise because the Kinder Morgan pipeline review process is set to restart on Tuesday next week on the 19th without considering greenhouse gas emissions,” said Berger. “They haven’t revised the process one bit.”

The Energy East pipeline proposal is also set to begin without any changes to the process.

“We’re really concerned about that,” said Berger.

“We think it’s irresponsible to review pipelines in 2016 without looking at the greenhouse gas emissions. It puts the safety and prosperity of Canadians at risk.”

In addition to CUSP, members of Environment North, Ontario Nature, Fossil Free Lakehead, Lakehead University Environmental Law Students Association and the local chapter of the Council of the Canadians also participated in the rally.

Ruth Cook, chairwoman of the Thunder Bay chapter of the Council of Canadians said they’ve been with the coalition for a long time to stop the Energy East pipeline.

She said it wasn’t only important to come to the rally to show support to stop the pipeline process, but also to hold the federal government to account.

“This government, before they were the government, made a tremendous number of promises and they are working on keeping a lot of them and we found that to be very positive but we found this one and it kind of felt as if it was being slipped in and thinking it would be under the radar and we wouldn’t notice,” said Cook.

“I can’t say that was their motivation but it was discouraging to think of all the promises, this one wasn’t being kept.”

If new oil infrastructure is built, Cook said Canada can’t possibly meet any of the climate change targets it set in Paris.

“It flies in the face of their climate promises,” she said.

Hajdu wasn’t at her office at the time of the rally, but in an email statement said the government is committed to making important reforms to regulatory agencies in order to restore public confidence.

“These are important policy issues that will ensure we achieve the broader goal of increasing Indigenous and community participation in assessments, basing decisions on science, facts and evidence, and aligning with Canada’s commitment to do our fair share on climate change,” said Hajdu.