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Energy East pipeline: Maude Barlow raises alarm in Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Assiniboine River

Ottawa – Beginning April 11 in Winnipeg, speakers will visit Manitoban and Saskatchewan communities along TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline path to hear local concerns. They will explain why Energy East is all risk and little reward for the two provinces.

The controversial export project would see an up to 40-year-old natural gas pipeline converted to ship 1.1 million barrels per day of crude oil.

“With oil prices plummeting, now more than ever is the time to invest in measures that generate good green jobs, sustainable energy production and responsible consumption,” says Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and a tour speaker. “We should not lock ourselves into a massive pipeline planned for at least 40 years, spurring tar sands expansion and threatening waterways with a diluted bitumen spill.”

In Saskatchewan the pipeline crosses or passes near major waterways including the South Saskatchewan River, Moose Jaw River and the Swift Current Creek watershed. The route also passes through the ecologically sensitive Great Sand Hills. In Manitoba the affected waterways include the Assiniboine River, Red River and in the Shoal Lake watershed. It also crosses two metres below the sole aqueduct for Winnipeg’s drinking water.

Diluted bitumen has proven to sink when spilled in waterways, making it near impossible to fully clean up.

“Over the past six years of fighting the TransCanada Keystone export pipeline, farmers, ranchers and tribes in the U.S. have stood up for our land, water, and property rights,” says Ben Gotschall, rancher and Energy Director for Bold Nebraska, also joining the tour. “I am honoured to be able to share my experiences with our neighbours to the north.”

The tour, supported by the Council of Canadians, the National Farmers Union and local partners, will present key information in a series of public forums. This includes information on the risks to waterways and farms of a diluted bitumen spill, TransCanada’s questionable pipeline safety record, the pipeline’s effect on tar sands expansion, and experiences opposing TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline.



  • Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, on protecting our water.
  • Ben Gotschall, Energy Director for Bold Nebraska, on ranchers’ opposition to Keystone XL.
  • Melissa Daniels, Dene lawyer, ACFN member on tar sands expansion and First Nations Treaty and Indigenous rights. Melissa will join the tour in Regina, Swift Current and Moose Jaw.
  • Fawn Wapioke, Chief of Iskatewizaagegan (Shoal Lake 39) and member of the Grassroots Indigenous Water Defence. Fawn will join the tour in Winnipeg.

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Photo: Assiniboine River, Patrick Johanneson, Flickr Media commons