rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Ambassador Doer: Stop lobbying for the Keystone XL pipeline

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Today the Council of Canadians joined with the Indigenous Environmental Network and Greenpeace Canada to send a clear message to Gary Doer (Canadian Abassador to the U.S.): stop lobbying for the Keystone XL pipline. We delivered a letter with this demand to Chris Plunkett, counsellor and spokesperson with the embassy, outside of the embassy in Washington. Doer was unfortunately unavailable to join us, he is currently in Winnipeg.

We were a group of around fifteen Canadians present in Washington to support the ongoing unprecedented two weeks of non-violent civil disobedience sit-in outside the White House demanding Obama refuse to sign the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

We had large photos of tar sands operations to help passing public understand why we are present, and honestly, sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. This is particularly true in the case of the tar sands, whose tailing ponds are so massive you can see them from outer space.

The event began with Clayton Thomas Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network leading a welcome on his drum. Clayton gave a brief statement of why he was present, followed by statements from Adam Thomas of the Carrier First Nation in Saik'ue B.C. (opposed to the proposed Enbridge pipeline that would ship tar sands crude to the B.C. coast), Gitz Crazy-boy, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (in the heart of the tar sands), Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Cree from Northern Alberta and Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada and Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians.

The statements underscored grave concerns over the impacts tar sands development are having on downstream First Nations. Concerns that independent studies have confirmed toxins in the Athabasca river and Delta one of the largest freshwater deltas in the world. People are concerned that this may be linked to unusually high rates of cancer through the consumption of contaminated fish and meat. To date, 5 legal cases have been launched over violations to treaty rights by tar sands projects. In B.C. over 80 indigenous communities are saying no to the proposed Enbridge pipeline. Melina, who is from Little Buffalo, spoke about her communities' experiences with a recent pipeline spill.

The statements challenged Doer to stop acting like a salesman for tar sands crude, and encouraging him and the Canadian government, to shift their focus to using our energy wisely and planning for a transition to a sustainable energy future. According to Environment Canada, the tar sands emissions may triple by 2020, they are already the fastest growing source in Canada. This means by 2020 they could account for 12 per cent of our national emissions!

Media present included CBC, CTV, Canadian Press and a photographer for Postmedia.

While Doer wasn't able to meet us today, he did give CBC an interview in Winnipeg. Our letter was raised and a number of points highlighted. While we didn't have the opportunity to directly respond to Doer, I feel compelled to answer one of his points.

While the U.S. (yes… the U.S. -- watch the interview and you'll understand my emphasis here) State Department concluded that Obama should move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline, the U.S. (yes… the U.S.) Environmental Protection Agency has blasted the two previous State Department reports for lacking critical information about the environmental impacts of the pipeline.

To understand the criticisms of this report, including by the EPA, I recommend starting with this press release from Friends of the Earth U.S. and this press release from the NRDC.

For responses to Doer's other arguments in favour of the pipeline, check out (and why not send an email while you are at it?) our action alert: Ambassador Doer: get your facts straight!

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.