The rally featured Neal Bernard “The Roughneck” Hancock removing his shoes and throwing them at the doors of the Legislature, former federal cabinet minister Chris Alexander appearing to nod as protesters chanted “lock her up” in reference to Premier Rachel Notley, and climate change denying, anti-gay and anti-immigration messages on signs and pamphlets.
While the crowd certainly included Albertans who are frustrated and angry at the economy and the government, the bizarre program and assortment of weird fringe groups distracted from any anti-carbon tax message they hoped to send.
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.
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.
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.