MONTREAL – Demonstrators piped their way through the streets of Montreal Saturday afternoon.
Protesters were joined by Green party leader Elizabeth May, who stood in solidarity with the rally organized by the Coalition of Students against Pipelines.
May told Global News that “there’s no question – pipelines are unpopular in Quebec, they’re unpopular in British Columbia and they’re unpopular in Ontario.”
There are two main pipelines targeted by Saturday’s protest.
The first is the Energy East pipeline, which would bring Alberta crude to refineries in Quebec and to a refinery and marine terminal in Saint John, New Brunswick.
The second is the Enbridge 9B pipeline, which involves plans to carry oil from Sarnia, Ont., to the refineries in Montreal’s east end.
Deputy leader for the Green party, Daniel Green, who walked alongside students and several Green party candidates during the demonstration, notes that “the volume together of these two pipelines is 1.6-1.7 million barrels per day.”
“That is almost 4-5 times of our petroleum needs in Eastern Canada,” he says.
Proponents argue that pipelines are a safer alternative to transport by rail, but Elizabeth May says that argument is just a distraction.
“The question is not whether you put bitumen on rail or on pipelines, it’s why are you trying to ship an unprocessed solid that comes out of the oil sands across the country,” says May.
Organizers say the benefits of these pipelines just don’t add up.
Chloé Houle-Johnson, a spokesperson for the Coalition of Students against Pipelines, told Global News that the Energy East pipeline and the Enbridge 9B pipeline “are high risk projects for the population and there’s no reward for the population here.”
She urges Montrealers and Canadians who participated in the rally to continue to push for climate justice well after election day.
Also attending the demonstration was Ellen Gabriel, an Indigenous Human Rights Activist who was a key spokesperson during the 1990 Oka Crisis.
Gabriel says “it’s a shame that in Canada, one of the richest countries in the world, that people have to pressure their government to have a more democratic say in how resources are used and what kind of development is on their lands.”
The protest was a peaceful one. No arrests were made.