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Fredericton & Saint John chapters organize counter-conference vs Energy East pipeline

A media conference this morning launched the Clean Energy East Summit in Saint John. Photo by Joan Green.

CTV reports, “The Energy East pipeline is dominating discussion at major conference underway in Saint John, and some of the top names in the Maritime energy industry are lining up to support the project. Gary Doer is a former premier of Manitoba and former Canadian ambassador to the United States. He offered a personal endorsement that many in the business community were waiting to hear. Similar energy conferences in Saint John tend to build support and momentum for the Energy East pipeline.”

The article highlights, “But opponents are trying to get their message out, on something like a shoestring budget. Environmentalists gathered next door to the convention centre in space provided by the regional library to discuss renewable energy. …Critics say politicians from coast-to-coast are obsessed with Energy East – a project that is, at best, years down the road.”

Fredericton chapter activist Mark D’Arcy is then quoted in the article saying, “We really need to start the energy future now. That’s clean energy and energy efficiency. Huge labour-intensive industries that the public should benefit from.”

Last week, the Fredericton chapter posted on Facebook, “In downtown Saint John next week, June 14-15th, the public can choose between our clean summit OR the fossil fuel summit just around the corner. TransCanada, Sask Premier Brad Wall, Perrin Beatty (President, Canadian Chamber of Commerce), NB Premier Brian Gallant, Irving Oil, etc. all will be at the East Coast Energy Connection 2016. NOTE: The clean summit is free to the public. The general public is largely excluded from the fossil fuel summit by their $475 entrance fee. Red Head Anthony’s Cove Preservation Association tried last year to get a discount community rate but they were refused.”

The media conference that launched the counter-conference this morning included D’Arcy, Saint John chapter activist Paula Tippett, CUPE NB Vice President-at-large Serge Plourde, and others.

A key message at that media conference was the call for New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant to spend his province’s carbon tax revenue on job creation. Given the federal government is intent on setting a $15 a tonne national minimum carbon price by September and the provinces, including New Brunswick, appear onside, the panel highlighted that a $20 a tonne carbon tax invested into clean energy and building efficiency programs would create up to 20,000 lifetime jobs in the province among other positive aspects.

The Clean Energy East Summit continues tomorrow (June 15) at the Saint John Free Public Library, 1 Market Square.