Protests disrupt Energy East pipeline hearings in Montreal
Published Monday, August 29, 2016 9:21PM MDT Last Updated Monday, August 29, 2016 9:23PM MDT
Protesters disrupted the first day of the National Energy Board hearings for the proposed Energy Eat pipeline in Montreal.
Montreal mayor Denis Coderre was the first speaker but before he could start a protester charged at the commissioners.
Security stopped him but others joined in and the NEB was forced to cancel Monday’s hearing.
“We’ll keep in touch to see if we can come tomorrow but again I think the NEB, as I said last Friday, should rethink the way this thing is happening right now,” says Coderre.
Coderre is against the pipeline and believes the NEB commissioners may have been unfairly influenced.
Others like those in New Brunswick, whose refining business would boom, are for the pipeline.
Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt says the pipeline will likely go depending on whether your region is in or out of the oil business.
“Some people are saying look we support the pipeline just build it somewhere else. You also have groups who say we don’t want any pipeline built anywhere because we want to shut down the oil sands.”
However, the hearings aren’t political in nature, they are fact-finding because Parliament will make the ultimate decision.
Mps will have to weigh the economic benefits of building and operating a 4,500 kilometre pipeline funneling domestic crude to domestic refineries rather than buying and selling oil to and from foreigners and if it’s worth the environmental risk.
“They’re going to have make a call and whatever decision they make is going to upset a certain group of people,” says Bratt.
Many Calgarians see the Montreal protest as counter-productive.
“I’m hoping Eastern Canada is seeing some of the hurt that this part of the country is going through and that we could all work together,” says Tanis Jaras.
University students are concerned about the environment but understand the pipeline would mean stability and jobs in our oil industry.
“I feel like I need to go into a field that’s so far like off the map and off of Alberta that where am I gonna find a job if I can’t find one here,” says Paige Jaras.
Transcanada, operator of the proposed pipeline, said the $15.7 billion pipeline will create 14,000 jobs; with about 3,100 of them in Quebec.
It also says it’s ready to respectfully and constructively begin the Montreal sessions.
The Alberta stop for the Energy East pipeline project is scheduled for November 7 through 10, 2016.
(With files from Lea Williams-Doherty)