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Alberta Politics

Dueling MP petitions highlight the Alberta-Quebec pipeline divide

Alberta Conservative MP Shannon Stubbs, who represents the Lakeland riding, sponsored and presented electronic petition e-216 (Oil and gas exploration) to the House of Commons calling on the Government of Canada to “vocally defend the oil and gas industry and the use of pipelines, and to make the building of oil, gas and diluted bitumen pipelines across Canada, to tidewater, and into the United States, a national priority.”

Luc Thériault
Luc Thériault

Bloc Quebecois MP Luc Thériault, who represents the Montcalm riding located north of Montreal, sponsored electronic petition e-150 (Protection of the environment) calling on the Government of Canada to “refrain from turning Quebec into an oilsands superhighway,” “respect Quebec’s environmental jurisdiction” and “put an end to TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline.”

The petition sponsored by Ms. Stubbs collected 34,537 signatures, compared to 16,822 signatures for Mr. Thériault’s petition. The breakdown of which provinces the signatures came from are interesting, and demonstrate an increasingly obvious geo-political divide in the national oil pipeline debate. This is especially evident by the number of signatures each petition collected from Alberta and Quebec. Alberta signatures represent more than half of those collected for Ms. Stubbs’ petition while Quebec signatures represent 96 percent of those collected for Thériault’s petition.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr responded to Mr. Thériault’s petition on June 14, 2016.

Ms. Stubbs’ petition was initiated by Canadian Association of Oil Drilling Contractors president Mark Scholz as part of the lobby group’s ‘Oil Respect’ campaign (which included appearances by actor/roughneck Neal Bernard Hancock).

Here is the breakdown of signatures on the two petitions by province:

signatures-per-province-epetition-pipelines-oil

Here is the full text of the two petitions:

Petition e-216 (Oil and gas exploration)

Whereas:

  • Much of Canada’s economy comes from oil and gas exploration, extraction, transport, upgrading, refining and processing;
  • Hundreds of thousands of Canadians work directly in the oil and gas sector;
  • 100,000 oil and gas workers are now unemployed;
  • Millions more benefit from the jobs and profits created by oil and gas development;
  • Canadian governments collect $17 billion dollars annually from the oil and gas industry which is used to fund essential government programs and services;
  • Canada is a world leader in the responsible development of its oil and gas resources;
  • Pipelines are the safest mode of transportation for oil, gas and fluids; and
  • A lack of pipelines to new markets means Canadian producers often receive far less than market rates for their oil.

We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to vocally defend the oil and gas industry and the use of pipelines, and to make the building of oil, gas and diluted bitumen pipelines across Canada, to tidewater, and into the United States, a national priority.

Petition e-150 (Protection of the environment)

Whereas:
  • The Alberta-based company TransCanada would like to build a pipeline that would cross Quebec from west to east to transport more than 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day, or 121,500 litres per minute, and that would go through more than 80 distinct watersheds, 600 waterways and various agricultural areas;
  • A study carried out by the École polytechnique de Montréal, commissioned by the Government of Quebec and published in late December 2015, revealed: that the pipeline’s route poses a serious landslide risk for various waterways, including around 30 rivers and the St. Lawrence River and its estuary; that the soil along the shoreline of the St. Lawrence River is too unstable to support a pipeline; that there is no such thing as zero risk, and the incidents involving pipeline crossings are usually found after many years of use; and that the only way to prevent all environmental repercussions is to not cross waterways;
  • Quebec would be assuming all environmental risks, and the cost is not worth the risk; and
  • Quebeckers should decide what happens within Quebec’s borders.

We, the undersigned citizens of Quebec, call upon the Government of Canada to: respect the wishes of Quebeckers and the National Assembly of Quebec; refrain from turning Quebec into an oilsands superhighway; respect Quebec’s environmental jurisdiction; and put an end to TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline.

One reply on “Dueling MP petitions highlight the Alberta-Quebec pipeline divide”

There is clearly a national divide regarding Energy East, but it seems to me that e-150 is unlikely to garner signatures outside of Quebec as it’s pretty clear in the text that it’s intended almost exclusively for Quebeckers (i.e. no language to indicate Canadians as a whole).

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