Federal NDP must disagree with Rachel Notley on Energy East to beat Stephen Harper, Quebec activist says

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      Opposition movements against four megaprojects linked to the Alberta oil sands are increasingly connected, according to Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, an author, environmental activist, and former leader of the 2012 student strike in Quebec.

      In British Columbia, attention is focused on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, proposed to carry heavy crude from the Alberta oil sands to Kitimat, and the twinning of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby. A major political controversy south of the border is the Keystone XL pipeline, which U.S. President Barack Obama has stood against. And in eastern Canada, there is TransCanada’s Energy East project, proposed to connect and expand on existing pipelines to see tar-sands crude carried from Alberta all the way to Saint John, New Brunswick.

      “People in Quebec are asking themselves a question,” Nadeau-Dubois said on the phone from Montreal. “That question is, do we want to become a highway for the export of one of the dirtier forms of oil in the world? More and more, Quebecers are saying, ‘No, we don’t want to become that export platform for the tar sands.'”

      Nadeau-Dubois, who is scheduled to speak at a public forum at SFU Harbour Centre on Friday (May 8), told the Straight he plans on giving B.C.’s anti-pipeline movement an update on similar activities gaining momentum in the country’s east.

      “We are really beginning to be able to have a global debate about greenhouse-gas emissions and the tar sands in particular,” he said.

      “People and communities are, more and more, realizing that most projects have very local and concrete risks for ecosystems and communities, and that they also represent a global threat to the climate…which is the significant increase of greenhouse-gas emissions that will come with pipelines.”

      The trip to Vancouver will also let Nadeau-Dubois meet with high-profile members of B.C.’s environmental movements, he revealed. Meetings are still being scheduled, but a number of First Nations leaders are on the schedule. Cecilia Point of the Musqueam Band will introduce him at the SFU event, and Ricochet Media editor Ethan Cox will be in attendance to moderate a Q&A. Also tentatively on Nadeau-Dubois’s agenda is Ben West, who in recent years organized two of the largest anti-pipeline demonstrations in the province’s history.

      “I’m really looking forward to hearing what they think are the reasons for success for their mobilization movement and what are the challenges they met,” Nadeau-Dubois said. “I think we really have to learn from each other.”

      Simon Fraser University

      Turning to current events, Nadeau-Dubois addressed concerns the May 5 election of Rachel Notley and an NDP majority in Alberta will slow progress moving against the Energy East pipeline project. Notley opposes Northern Gateway but supports Energy East, which is projected to carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day upon completion.

      “It is not very surprising for me to see that the premier of Alberta is in favour of it,” he said. “We never really hoped for the support of Alberta’s government.”

      Nadeau-Dubois added the so-called “Orange Crush” in Alberta should similarly change nothing for the federal NDP.

      “All the polls here, they all suggest the same thing: a vast majority of people in Quebec are against that very controversial project,” he said. “So my message for the federal NDP is pretty clear: if they want to keep the vote and keep their ridings in Quebec, they will have to have a much clearer position on energy.

      “If Thomas Mulcair wants to be considered as an alternative to Stephen Harper, he has to have a different perspective on the very important issues of pipelines and energy.”

      Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is scheduled to speak at SFU Harbour Centre on Friday (May 8) at 7 p.m.

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      Richard Piesse

      May 7, 2015 at 4:34pm

      IMO the crude that is extracted from the tar sands by fracking is different than coventional crude because it is so full of gases, and those gases make transportation of the crude extremely dangerous weather it be by rail or pipeline . Have you noticed lately the huge explosions of oil cars in train derailments such as the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster ? There have been more this year than i can remember off hand, but there was just another one in North Dakota this week forcing the evacuation of yet another town! IMO there should be money poured into researching this problem and new laws enstated and tighter safety regulations regarding the extraction of these combustive gases within the crude obtained by fracking before transport! Gee whiz sitting in the first few rows of cars at the railway crossing as those oil tankers are thundering down the tracks in front of us is more like playing Russian roulete than it is a Sunday drive to the park these days. I just hope i never see a pipeline full of fracking crude explode on route to a refinery one summer, and start a huge forest fire the likes of which no one has ever seen. It would be almost impossible to put out at first and the damage to the environment would be catastrophic for local wildlife and residents.

      James Blatchford

      May 7, 2015 at 4:50pm

      Hope Rachel enjoyed her honeymoon.


      May 7, 2015 at 5:13pm

      Both he and the movement his ilk fronted have no credibility in Quebec (See election, student movement levels of support). I find it insulting that he still presumes relevance.

      Good to know you can still spin a career from failure in the NDP.

      Notley will be sunk

      May 7, 2015 at 8:55pm

      It will be the activist left who destroy Notley's chance to show that an NDP government is viable provincially and federally. I can't believe how quickly the pile-on started. I had hoped (for 24 hrs anyway) that her staggering, leap-of-faith win in Alberta would make people really question another knee-jerk Harper majority win this fall.
      Here's a question I would love to see the Straight report on (lord knows Sun and Prov won't) Given that the lower mainland (growing every day) has the highest consumption of fossils west of Southern Ontario, where does our oil/gas/ng for planes, boats, cars, trains, consumer goods and their delivery come from? Is it by pipeline, rail or road or even tanker from the U.S.? Does the airport with an airline leaving every few minutes have a pipeline - they must need mega jet fuel? Am very curious about this.

      You've got it wrong

      May 8, 2015 at 5:59am

      "Notley will be sunk", no your completely wrong. If Notley stands up to the activist left, as a sitting NDP Premier, she'll be hailed as a hero by the 80% in the middle and will have a very good chance for re-election. Heck, she'll have a very good chance to be Prime Minister, considering her balanced approach. Everybody expects for her to go with the activist left, so she's in a nothing but win situation- on that front.


      May 8, 2015 at 6:03am

      amazing how a supposed education does not erase the inherent stupidity of Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois. But what can be expected from the land of the coddled, where foolishness is subsidized by the rest of the provinces. Oil is a commodity that is a key linchpin in the national economy, to try and kneecap it shows a definite lacking of seriousness and a basic incomprehension of economics.

      As an aside

      May 8, 2015 at 6:48am

      @Notley will be sunk:

      Some interesting points and valid questions. Just to hijack this a little bit, your comment about the fact that our population is growing and we will be using much more fossil fuel than ever needs to be recognized. I think this is something that we should be pushing on the more prominent figures in the No vote on transit (eg Jordan Bateman) and not resting until they give us a realistic and viable solution. So far they have nothing and their only defense is that they don't believe we will grow - which I've been hearing for decades. It's something that needs to be addressed and just saying No to spite politicians or Translink staff is short-sighted and bone-headed.

      Warren Walker

      May 8, 2015 at 1:41pm

      I think we need to stop prognosticating.

      I'm definitely going to do my part in shutting down the TransMountain expansion through Civil Disobedience (Thank You Forestethics for hosting a workshop last Saturday) and continue to get Tom Mulcair to clean up his act....

      But it's high time somebody spoke out to get Tom Mulcair to clean up his act...

      1. Shave his scruffy beard so he can look like a PM instead of like he's hiding something. I've lost count of the women, esoecially, who've told me that.

      2. Order MPs to pay their BOIE fines and say "We're committed to form our next government, in the meantime we won't be distracted and we'll get it back from the Court later"...

      3. Campaign for anti-dictatorship legislation that guarantees Prime Ministers are restricted to two terms...then repeal bill C-51 will look like the fascist bullshit it really is.

      Tom Mulcair, hire an image consultant who doesn't agree " Canada needs to get used to a bearded Prime Minister" like you told me before. Canada isn't planning to elect your ego. I've had numerous beards before when I was in my 30's but right now there are too many Canadians who think you're slippery and the way you've handled the BOIE situation exposes the NDP to even more criticism that doesn't make you look like much of a leader at all.

      You have my number.

      Lewis S

      May 8, 2015 at 2:02pm

      The fact that Mulcair stayed in Ottawa may have been a significant factor in Notley being elected premier in Alberta. She will also probably benefit in the province by being attached by environmental activists long on emotion, but short on knowledge and understanding of the problems in both their detailed and broad scope proposing solutions that cause more problems than they solve.

      A more significant factor was probably their recent history of solving problems based on their beliefs rather than reality.

      Chris Green

      May 8, 2015 at 3:02pm

      OK, at the great risk of losing friends here in the Lower Mainland . . .

      Alberta is not ever going to stop drilling or mining oil. They are going to ship that oil to domestic and foreign markets. Thus, it will either be shipped on the railways or through pipelines. Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP want to upgrade the bitumin in Edmonton, sparing the people along the existing (to be expanded) Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipelines from having dilbit flowing through their neighbourhoods.

      There have been oil tankers sailing in and out of Burrard Inlet and Saint John's harbour for decades. This is a risk we are already taking and will continue to take. Eliminating the new pipeline to Kitimat spares the north coast from this risk. And not building Keystone XL in favour of Energy East keeps the oil within Canada, and eliminates oil imports that feed Eastern Canada's energy supply. Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good.