TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline president, Francois Poirier, came to Ottawa today, expecting to be the star attraction for a crowd of over 200 who paid to listen to his speech at the Chateau Laurier. Instead, his talk was interrupted by Ottawa residents upset with TransCanada’s plans to ship 175 million litres of tar sands bitumen through Ottawa every day.
The protesters unfurled two banners saying “We can’t drink oil!” and “Stop Energy East!” before Poirier could take questions, as the protesters stood silently in front of Poirier before they were escorted from the room by security.
“When we learned that the president of this pipeline project was coming to Ottawa, right after the Premiers’ Summit, we knew we had to make sure to let him know he and his pipeline wasn’t welcome here,” explained Jo Wood, one of the participants and a retired resident of the Glebe. “This pipeline threatens not just our rivers but the stability of our climate, and we can’t stand by and let it be built.”
Other attendees had paid seventy-five dollars to attend the lunchtime event, where Poirier was the main speaker. He was there to sell the Energy East pipeline’s economic benefits, which were disputed by the protesters present.
“We know the Energy East pipeline would lock us into a dying fossil fuel industry, when there’s a much better and cleaner future investing instead in renewable energy,” said Kyla Farmer, a recent graduate of Carleton University. “Why invest fourteen billion dollars to create a few dozen long term jobs, when we can create thousands of good, green jobs investing in clean energy?”
“The science of climate change is clear,” stated Calvin Climie, a math professor at Algonquin College. ”We can’t allow the tar sands to expand any more, and have a hope for a stable climate. This pipeline is the fuse to the dirtiest source of fuel on the planet.”
A recent report by the journal Nature indicated that Canada must leave 85% of proven tar sands deposits in the ground to enable a chance at containing global warming under 2 degrees, effectively allowing for only 500,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil to be produced over the next forty years. TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline would be destined to carry 1.1 million barrels every day.