WEEK 3: Wherever federal leaders go, questions follow

Last week’s election campaign was marked by all three major federal leaders being called out about the tar sands. Coast to coast, the wave of diverse actions travelled from New Brunswick, to Manitoba, to British Columbia.

It started with a special welcoming committee for Stephen Harper on the campaign trail, this time in Fredericton. On Monday August 17th, local residents, the Council of Canadians and First Nations spoke out and brought creative reminders that Harper’s single-minded expansion of the oil industry needs to be a thing of the past.

IMAGE - Stephen Harper visit to Fredericton Legion (August 17, 2015) IMAGE - Stephen Harper visit to Fredericton Legion - Harper's bus

video taken outside the event  – which hit over 5,000 views in its first hours on the Internet – shows the resolve of Elsipogtog First Nation’s Debbie Cyr and St. Mary’s First Nation Angee Acquin, drumming to send the clear and powerful message that protecting the climate and opposing pipelines is about honouring treaty rights and Indigenous people rights in Canada.

To make that Monday even better, the CBC released this great and widely-shared video explaining why it’s likely that Alberta’s tar sands will stay in ground — one thing’s for certain, the conversation from the last weeks is keeping up!

Moving west a few days later in Winnipeg, local residents, fossil fuel divestment students, members of the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition, Indigenous organizers, and other allies joined that intensifying wave of protest to ask for real climate leadership at the NDP rally help on August 20. With signs asking to keep tar sands in the ground cheekily blending with the orange party signs on both sides of Thomas Mulcair, and with folks interrupting his speech again and again with questions from within the crowd, they put pressure on Mulcair so as to clarify his position on Energy East.

august 21 mulcair winnipeg

And the next day, the NDP candidate in Winnipeg South-Center Matt Henderson said we should question the idea of developing any more of the tar sands – making it the second NDP candidate to come out on the issue this month.

With several columnists remarking that increasing elections protests are to be expected on this issue, we’re already seeing the effects.

And to close the week off, all the way west on Vancouver Island also on August 20, the Dogwood Initiative questioned Trudeau about the overhaul to the NEB he’s been promising and got him to clarify what this meant for Kinder Morgan pipeline. His response recorded on video:

Watch: Trudeau on Kinder MorganJustin Trudeau says if he’s Prime Minister, Kinder Morgan will have to go back to the drawing board, saying “the process needs to be redone.”

The next day, the NEB announced that it was delaying the hearings meant to start the following week, after outcry from the public.

Looks like these pipelines might be a long way from being built — let’s keep going in this unique moment to demand the ambitious leadership we need kick-start the transition to a just renewable energy economy in Canada.


Click here to get involved in a wave of mobilization by the climate movement this fall, and download the bird-dogging toolkit to organize similar actions calling out and questioning party leaders across party lines during the elections campaign!

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