Students protest against pipeline

Protestors gathered in front of the JDUC on Monday to oppose Northern Gateway project

Students protested the Northern Gateway pipeline outside the JDUC yesterday.
Students protested the Northern Gateway pipeline outside the JDUC yesterday.

Last night around 80 protestors gathered in front of the JDUC to voice their opinions about the Northern Gateway Pipeline that’s set to transport an estimated 525,000 barrels of oil from Alberta’s oil sands to B.C.’s West Coast per day.

Jessica Buttery, ArtSci ’14, started planning the hour-long protest on her own about two weeks ago after she became aware of the issue through one of her classes in environmental science.

Passing cars honked and their passengers cheered in support of the protestors, while students and local Kingstonians stood outside holding signs that said “Defend our democracy” and “Defend our coast.”

This was part of a nation-wide protest — one was also held at the B.C. legislature earlier in the day and saw thousands of people come out for the cause.

Buttery said B.C. Aboriginal communities, who will be heavily affected by the proposed pipeline, aren’t being fully consulted.

Protestors across the country have cited the lack of consultation as a problem with the project, and Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada vice-chairman Jim Prentice, a former minister in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, claimed in a Globe and Mail article that the pipelines could have negative repercussions for First Nations relations in the province. “The federal government hasn’t been fulfilling their consultation responsibilities with those groups so there [are] … so many voices being ignored,” Buttery said.

There are also environmental concerns over the projects; Buttery said, noting that tar sands oil produces 20 per cent more greenhouse gases than other energy sources because of the process used to extract it from the sands.

“People don’t think we can have a solid economic system without degrading the environment but we can totally have both,” she said.

Enbridge, the company behind the pipeline, claims that the new project will create approximately 3,000 construction jobs at the peak of construction.

Buttery said she disagrees with this sentiment.

“This pipeline in particular is going to the coast so that they can ship the oil to be refined by other companies, so this project is largely benefiting other countries and foreign oil industries and Canada is stuck with the mess,” she said.

Buttery said her and other volunteers collected letters and videos to send to Christy Clark, premiere of B.C.

Although most protested alongside Buttery, some attended in support of the pipeline.

“I believe that the Northern Gateway Pipeline, or pipelines in general, are important to ensure that Canada can develop its economy and protect our self from an increasing weak economy,” Kevin Weiner, JD ’15, said. “The pipeline was necessary and safe to ensure we can develop our oil sands.” Attendee Robert Kiley, president and CEO of the Kingston Green Party, offered a middle ground idea for the pipeline plans.

Kiley supported the idea to eliminate the pipeline that is looking to run out west, but proposed that a pipeline could run east to be refined with Canadian companies.

“We can become energy secure in the long run,” he said. “Keeping oil in the country, by finding energy security we can chose to reduce emissions, and if we can have control of that we are ready to make the transition [to greener energy sources].”


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