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TransCanada pays Ontario town cash for silence on Energy East pipeline

Bloomberg reports, “TransCanada Corp. (TRP) provided an Ontario town along the proposed Energy East pipeline route with cash to buy a rescue truck on conditions that include the municipality not comment on the company’s operations.”

“TransCanada gave Mattawa C$30,000 ($28,200) under its community engagement program, according to an agreement appended to the agenda of the town council’s June 23 meeting. The city agreed to ‘not publicly comment on TransCanada’s operations or business projects’ for five years as part of the agreement, the document showed.”

In the article, Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue comments, “This is a gag order. These sorts of dirty tricks impede public debate on Energy East, a pipeline that comes with significant risks for communities along the route.”

In a piece of unconvincing corporate spin, TransCanada spokesman Davis Sheremata responds, “The language in the agreement was designed to prevent municipalities from feeling obligated to make public comments on our behalf about projects that did not impact them and about which they had no experience or knowledge.” And likely as a result of being exposed in this news report, Sheremata adds, “We are looking at amending our contract language to ensure communities know they and their staff retain the full right to participate in an open and free dialogue about our projects.”

The article notes, “The money for Mattawa will be used to buy a new rescue vehicle for first-aid services along Highway 17, known as the Trans-Canada, near the community about 300 kilometers (186 miles) northwest of Ottawa, according to the agreement. The contract was drafted in January after being negotiated for at least two years, said David Burke, an administrator with the town of 2,100 people, which has already received the money. The agreement was approved by the mayor and six councilors, Burke said. Mattawa agreed to 10 items as part of the deal, including that the TransCanada name appear on the truck.”

The Council of Canadians opposes the 1.1 million barrel per day Energy East pipeline. For more on our campaign to stop it, please click here. The full Bloomberg news report can be read at TransCanada’s Donation to Town Means Silence on Pipeline.

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