On November 17, 2012, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow spoke at the ‘Tar Sands Come to Ontario: No Line 9′ public forum at the University of Toronto.
Barlow shared her recent experience in Mexico and compared the struggles against mines and dams there to what she heard from the panelists at this forum and what they are up against in their communities. She stated that the tar sands produces “the dirtiest oil on the Earth” and that even if it doesn’t spill it will pollute the climate where it is used.
She talked about how this isn’t a fight against just one pipeline, but about the 14,000 kilometres of new pipelines being proposed.
She mentioned Bill McKibben and his message that we’re organizing to make a difference for the whole world, not just for ourselves.
She said that the pipelines are the bloodlines, the arteries, of the tar sands, and that we need to stop the pipelines to stop the massive already-approved expansions of the tar sands.
She warned that if the pipelines are built the imperative then will be to keep them full all the time.
She said given the level of opposition – including 132 First Nation communities – the pipelines will not pass in British Columbia, which means all eyes are now on pipelines that could go from west to east, including Line 9, a ‘Trailbreaker’ pipeline to Portland, and the Trans Canada East Coast pipeline which could go to Saint John, New Brunswick.
She highlighted that from there the bitumen would be exported to Europe, Asia or India – and that the pipelines are not being proposed because the corporations behind them have suddenly discovered that Atlantic Canada imports its oil.
She said we need a North America-wide coalition to oppose pipelines, that we need to support those in the trees blocking the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas, and work with our allies opposing Trailbreaker in New England.
And she emphasized that we need to keep an open dialogue – and the love of allies – with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union and the NDP which have been supportive of a west-to-east pipeline, but likely won’t once more about the pipelines unfolds.
But, she noted, Atlantic Canada and Quebec do import oil and so we do need to commit to an alternative energy future.
Barlow concluded with a strong criticism of Stephen Harper – including how he has put 30,000 lakes across Canada in jeopardy to let the pipelines pass and how he pursuing trade agreements like the Canada-European Union CETA and the Canada-China FIPA that give corporations new rights and powers to sue for billions of dollars when they don’t get their way.
To watch the 19-minute video of her presentation, please watch above or go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cATCLbEIiA.
For campaign blogs on Line 9, see http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22line+9%22.