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Winnipeg town hall rejects risky Energy East pipeline

Twitter photos from last night’s public forum on the Energy East pipeline in Winnipeg.

More than 200 people attended a Council of Canadians-organized town hall meeting at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg last night on the Energy East pipeline.

The panel featured Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow, Shoal Lake 40 member Daryl Redsky, and Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition member Michael Matczuk. Treaty 1 territory advocate Chickadee Richard provided the welcome and the introduction to the evening. Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Andrea Harden-Donahue was the moderator for the event.

As noted in tweets last night:


– “We cannot be stewards of our water and have the Energy East pipeline.”


– “We will stand side by side to protect what we have – the water.”

– “We have not been consulted on this pipeline which is 10 kilometres from my home.”

– “If the pipeline spills, it will affect my people. I am confident we can beat this snake if we work together.”

– “Water gives us life. Everything in this city of Winnipeg was built with Treaty 3 water.”


– “The Energy East pipeline could not be in a worse place for Winnipeg threatening drinking water.”


– “The Energy East pipeline makes no sense with the climate commitment made at United Nations climate talks.”

For more tweets from last night, please see @CanadiansWPG.

Just two days before the town hall meeting, an op-ed by Barlow and Matczuk was published in the Winnipeg Free Press. Their piece challenged the myths that “the threat to waterways from Energy East can be managed”, that “Energy East will supply Eastern refineries with Canadian oil” and that “getting oil to tidewater will help us pay for the transition to a green economy”.

In short, they argued, “Energy East’s path could not be in a worse location for Winnipeg. The pipeline runs alongside most of the length of the sole aqueduct supplying Winnipeg’s drinking water, as well as the Shoal Lake watershed, the traditional territory of Iskatewizaagegan (Shoal Lake 39) and Shoal Lake 40.” They noted, “Energy East is first and foremost an export pipeline. TransCanada’s recent filings to the National Energy Board (NEB) indicate the project would see a doubling of oil tanker traffic in the Bay of Fundy, up to 281 a year. This means at least 800,000 barrels per day is destined for international markets.” And they highlighted, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently suggested Canada needs pipeline projects to maintain a strong economy, helping to fund the low-carbon transition. This is like committing to weight loss with an all-poutine diet.”

The evening was co-hosted with the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition and co-sponsored by the Wilderness Committee Manitoba Field Office, the University of Winnipeg Students Association, Fun Class (a non-hierarchical group of students and community members dedicated to fighting oppression and for fairness on the University of Winnipeg campus), 350.org and Boreal Action Centre.

Last night followed-up on a public meeting on the Energy East pipeline in Winnipeg organized by the Council of Canadians in April 2015.

Photo: Winnipeg-based Council of Canadians organizer Brigette DePape, Winnipeg chapter members Mary Robinson and Ken Harasym, and Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow at last night’s public forum.