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Council of Canadians & allies to highlight climate change at premiers meeting today

Photos: Activists deployed a ten-foot tall inflatable elephant outside the premiers meeting in Ottawa at noon hour today.

Activists deployed a ten-foot tall inflatable elephant outside the premiers meeting in Ottawa at noon hour today.

This morning CBC reports, “[Today] Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers … will convene behind closed doors at a downtown Ottawa hotel, where they are expected to discuss a wide range of issues pertinent to their respective and collective interests, including energy, infrastructure and internal trade barriers. Later this morning, a coalition of concerned advocacy groups, including the Council of Canadians, Ecology Ottawa and the Raging Grannies will gather outside the venue to call on the assembled premiers to address what they describe as ‘the elephant in the room’: TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline, which, they say, will ‘unleash pollution equivalent to adding 7 million cars on the roads.'”

The premiers clearly need to hear our message.

The Globe and Mail also reports this morning, “New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant is aiming to ease provincial concerns over the proposed Energy East pipeline during his first premiers’ summit at a time when other provinces are pushing for agreement around a national energy plan focused on climate change. …[Gallant will be] the key proponent of the pipeline because Alberta Premier Jim Prentice and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall [who both support the Energy East project] are not attending.” Wall will be participating via conference call, while Prentice has sent his municipal affairs minister.

The article adds, “Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she’s confident she can work ‘constructively’ with Alberta’s premier in dealing with concerns over the Energy East pipeline. Wynne discussed the project with Prentice at a meeting Wednesday. …Wynne and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard outlined a list of seven principles last fall that would guide their decision on whether to support the pipeline. However, the two provinces appeared to soften their stand in December when they said they would not weigh the extra greenhouse-gas emissions generated by increased production to supply the pipeline as part of their decision.

Wynne now says Ontario will examine the pipeline only on the basis of its downstream emissions, such as bulldozer exhaust fumes resulting from its construction in her province. She has also stated that she wants to help get Alberta get more of its oil to market. And Couillard has commented, “Whatever the future of the TransCanada project, the extraction will take place. So it doesn’t add anything to the debate to look at [upstream emissions]. What we really want to see is the sum of greenhouse gases over the Quebec section of the project.”

And the Toronto Star notes, “At a time when premiers are focusing their attention on the $12-billion TransCanada Energy East project… [Northwest Territories Premier Bob] McLeod revealed [last night] that his territorial government will lead a study into the feasibility of opening up an energy, communications and transportation corridor that would run from the resource-rich Mackenzie Valley to the Arctic Ocean.” The premier has been backing the proposed 100,000 barrels per day Arctic Gateway export pipeline that would move bitumen 2,400 kilometres from northern Alberta through the Mackenzie Valley to the port of Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Ocean.

The Council of Canadians opposes both the Energy East and Arctic Gateway pipelines. And as Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow highlights, “We are demanding a Canadian energy strategy which features meaningful regulatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions.”

Join us today at 12 pm outside the Delta Hotel (101 Lyon Street North between Queen and Albert streets) to tell the premiers that export pipelines and the further expansion of the tar sands they would bring are not compatible with the imperative to address climate change.

For more information about our campaign against the Energy East pipeline, please click here. For the letter from the Council of Canadians Northwest Territories chapter expressing their opposition to the NWT premier on the Arctic Gateway pipeline, please click here.

Further reading
Canada’s premiers to meet in Ottawa to discuss pipelines and climate change (January 2015 blog)