The fight in New Brunswick against TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline gained momentum this past weekend! At the invitation of the Wolastoq Grand Council, this past Saturday saw close to 50 people participate in an historic gathering at the Woodstock Band Council’s office to form an alliance with indigenous and non-indigenous allies.
We were a diverse group, with several Wolastoq (Maliseet) bands represented including St. Mary’s, Woodstock, Tobique, and Madawaska, whose territory will be crossed; Mi’kmaq representation; organic farming and others living along the pipeline route, including from Red Head (the community outside of Saint John where the proposed pipeline will end at an 18-tank storage facility and a marine terminal for oil supertankers); organizational representation, including the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, Stop the Energy East Pipeline – Halifax, and the Council of Canadians through the Fredericton chapter as well as myself and our new staff person Mark D’Arcy (Fredericton-based NB Energy East campaigner); and other individuals concerned with the many negative impacts that would come with the pipeline.
Water was central to the gathering. Everyone spoke around the circle about where they came from and why they were there, with many highlighting their connection to water. Andrea Bear-Nicolas spoke about the Peace and Friendship Treaties, and then Mark D’Arcy spoke about his new role with the Council of Canadians in the province, which includes supporting First Nations and landowners.
I was honoured to be asked to speak about work happening on a national level, and highlighted our work within other coalitions including on the Peoples' Intervention strategy for the National Energy Board (NEB; deadline for stage 1 is in less than 48hours!! Apply to intervene in the Energy East pipeline review), the success of our Atlantic tour in the fall and the upcoming Prairies tour, and the big climate change march planned for April 11th in Quebec City.
Our mission is to stand in unity to protect all that sustains life..."Water" is the lifeline for everything. Working together will make our opposition to the pipeline stronger, as we saw with the Cowboy and Indian Alliance that came together to oppose TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in the US.
The Council of Canadians is excited to be part of this Alliance and know that we will stop this pipeline! We will continue to promote alternatives that will help us realize a sustainable energy future for Atlantic Canada and beyond.
Join the Alliance Facebook group here.