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Council of Canadians opposes Energy East at Swift Current public forum

Swift Current forum

The Council of Canadians held its third public forum in a Prairies tour against the Energy East pipeline in Swift Current, Saskatchewan last night.

A full-house of about 70 people, including local farmers and landowners, were at the Days Inn Swift Current to hear Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, Bold Nebraska energy director Ben Gotschall, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) lawyer Melissa Daniels, and Council of Canadians organizer Chris Gallaway. As the forum began, Barlow tweeted, “Packed house at our Energy East open house in Swift Current. We can stop this pipeline!”

Gallaway also tweeted comments made by the speakers at the forum, including:

“TransCanada is the greenest company. I don’t mean their environmental record, they throw cash at every problem.” – Gotschall

“We have no shortage of evidence that the tar sands are impacting ACFN’s health.” – Daniels

“Damn right shipping by rail is dangerous but this won’t end that. It’s not an either or.” – Barlow

Media at the public forum included the Prairie Post, Cabri Herald and Southwest Booster.Maude Barlow speaking in Swift Current

The Swift Current Southwest Booster has reported, “In Saskatchewan the pipeline crosses or passes near major waterways including the South Saskatchewan River, Moose Jaw River and the Swift Current Creek watershed. The route also passes through the ecologically sensitive Great Sandhills.”

Prior to the public forum, Barlow, Daniels, Gotschall and Gallaway visited the Great Sandhills. A Tourism Saskatchewan website notes, “The Great Sandhills contain one of the largest set of active sand dunes in Canada. It is a protected area and lies within the Great Sandhills Ecological Reserve. Rising high above the terrain, the Great Sandhills cover 1,900 square kilometres. The dunes are always moving and create an ever-changing landscape. The Great Sandhills are a paradise for bird watching, nature photography and fun in the sand.”

Sandhills sign

Gallaway wryly comments, “Things you can’t do in the Great Sandhills: camp, have a fire, or ride a horse. What TransCanada wants to do: pump a million barrels of diluted bitumen per day through a decades old natural gas pipeline.”

The “Our Risk – Their Reward” tour began in Winnipeg on April 11 and then visited Regina on April 13. The tour concludes in Moose Jaw tonight (April 16).

For more on the tour and campaign to stop the Energy East pipeline, please click here.

Photos by Maude Barlow and Chris Gallaway.