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Environment Minister Catherine McKenna confronted by pipeline protesters

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Flickr/Mark Klotz

Tuesday morning, I participated in a silent protest with other youth from Ottawa to call on Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to play a leadership role in stopping the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

The Trudeau government’s cabinet, including McKenna, need to make a decision on the Kinder Morgan pipeline, a yes or no by Dec. 19. So far, cabinet has hinted that it might approve the pipeline, but climate science is not in line with increased production of tar sands bitumen, and opposition is fierce.

The expansion of the pipeline would add a twin pipe to carry crude alongside the current pipeline running between Alberta and British Columbia.

This action comes on the heels of last week’s Climate 101 civil disobedience action that resulted in 99 young people being arrested on Parliament Hill, while they called on Trudeau to “Reject the Kinder Morgan pipeline.” 

Messages we held up to McKenna and the 50-plus crowds in attendance read, “Reject Kinder Morgan” and “Climate leaders don’t build pipelines.” 

The Globe and Mail also featured an op-ed by Jeff Rubin, a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and former chief economist and chief strategist at CIBC World Markets. He wrote that any new pipeline would be useless and un-fillable within the current context where countries are making international commitments and oil prices are not likely to increase to where the tar sands industry needs them to be. 

“Far from needing new pipelines, the oil sands industry will soon have problems filling the capacity of existing ones in tomorrow’s emission-constrained world,” he said.

McKenna and other ministers have been saying that we need to get our resources to market, while others have said that we need to get oil to tidewater, two arguments that Jeff Rubin, among others, have dismantled. 

One thing for certain is that we can expect the pressure to increase on the cabinet in the days and weeks to come. It is a time to expect the most and the best from our elected officials.

A simple choice is before the liberal cabinet: Either approve Kinder Morgan, and side with Big Oil’s vision for a fossil fueled and uncertain economic future, or Reject Kinder Morgan, and usher Canada into a new healthy economy, that ensures our water and our environment is healthy, protected and sustains us, all in respect and alongside indigenous peoples and their cultures.

One implies climate leadership, the other gives into a fossil fuel status quo for decades to come. It is way past the time we built an economy for Canada that is based on caring for the earth and one another.

Flickr/Mark Klotz

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