A group of students at Mount Allison University say they’re hopeful Sackville Town councillors will formally oppose construction of the Energy East pipeline at their next meeting on Monday, December 12th.
The students, who are enrolled in an environmental activism class taught by Professor Brad Walters, attended last night’s council meeting to hear Councillor Bill Evans discuss his draft motion on the pipeline. It calls on the federal government to “protect the health and safety of our communities by denying approval for the Energy East pipeline.”
Evans promised to come up with such a motion and discuss it with his council colleagues after the students’ group, Sackville No Energy East, made their case against the pipeline during council’s regular meeting on November 7th.
If it eventually wins federal approval, the proposed pipeline would carry up to 1.1 million barrels of bitumen per day from the Alberta tar sands to an Irving Oil terminal in Saint John.
Pipelines and climate change
During last night’s meeting, Councillor Evans acknowledged that his motion is symbolic and that pipeline approval is a federal matter, but he added it’s still worth opposing Energy East.
” I think it’s important to show leadership in matters like this,” Evans said. “Global climate change can be catastrophic, it’s going to affect all of us. We can’t argue that it’s not a municipal matter if it’s going to affect all of us.”
Evans’s draft motion states that “the extraction and burning of fossil fuels exacerbates” the threat of climate change.
Councillor Michael Tower said that while he favours bringing the motion forward at the next council meeting, he’d like to see what he called “more meat behind it.”
He explained, for example, that the motion could oppose the pipeline unless the federal government meets strict conditions such as getting the agreement of First Nations people.
“I think we should have a bit more in there so that the government has a chance to look at it…and say well, ‘OK, how do we answer this?’ instead of just saying ‘Oh that’s Sackville being anti-business,'” Tower said.
For her part, Deputy Mayor Joyce O’Neil noted that council had heard from the students, but she wondered if it would also be hearing from pipeline supporters.
CAO Phil Handrahan replied he hadn’t received any calls from anyone wanting to make a presentation.
Councillor Evans said that Energy East, the federal government and other wealthy, powerful people already have “an ample microphone” to make their case for the pipeline. He said his motion is an attempt to counteract that.
“I don’t think we need to give equal time to them,” he added, “they sure as hell didn’t give equal time to us.”
Be on the right side of history.
Sackville Town Council is elected to deal with issues within its jurisdiction, i.e., the Town of Sackville. It’s just like mayoralty candidate Virgil Hammock pointed out at the election debate: the Town can fix sidewalks, put in bike paths, etc. It’s not the right address for dealing with pipelines.
Its job is *not* to determine national environmental policy. People who want to be involved in that shouldn’t be running for municipal politics. Sackville Town Council’s job is the Town of Sackville, and it should work on *that*.
What we’re seeing with this latest, apparently, is a case of failed would-be federal politician(s?) trying to relive their dreams via Town Council, when they should be spending their time and energy on matters relevant to the Town instead.
It’s not like we don’t have plenty of local problems that need attention, that there should be time for useless and irrelevant grand-standing resolutions of Council, in an area completely outside of its jurisdiction.
Just what the Town of Sackville needs, eh? Nothing like being the only community in all of New Brunswick that will likely voice its disapproval (through the majority of Town Council) against a project that our Premier and his staff is wholeheartedly endorsing. I wonder what retaliatory action Premier Gallant will take against our seemingly outspoken little Town. Sadly, I’m sure they have lots of options to work with. Why in the world can’t the Council spend this effort to try to positively increase economic development within our boundaries, like Gallant is doing with this for New Brunswick, and stop being so darn negative!
And….while we are on the subject; Lets please, for God’s sake, also be against this “fracking”! The use of fracking in the US has proven disastrous to both environment, surroundings, air quality, water tables and earth quake susceptibility. Got to get this stopped before it gets started! Also of note is the fact that in the area of Dakota and its surrounding states there have been over 140 pipeline leaks…small and large in the last 12 months!!! These figures are easily available but big oil and big government hide them as much as possible from the public! Who knows what hell the Trump administration will bring onto those down there that are trying to protect the environment and in many cases trying to protect their own backyard environment. Also as a final personal note…Alton Natural Gas has somehow gotten approval to use the Shubinacadie River to drill spaces underground to store natural gas and when used the spaces will be flushed into the river using salt which will undoubtedly kill the fish. This river is the aboriginal salmon fishing and wildlife (Eagles) refuge for the Indian Brook native reservation. Indian Brook have been engaged both with NS gov and Alton trying to block this legally….the story is on-going. A similar issue going on near Fredericton also. Time to say NO to big oil and gas both above and below ground!!! The view from here…
Regardless of whether one is for or against fracking, there is actually a local aspect to that one, so Council might actually have some relevance in weighing in.
Can’t believe this poor little town council can think they can take on big oil and the jobs it will create when they can’t look after their own town and can’t make a proper decision on a drive thru. Think about it.
I couldn’t agree more!
Your comment is actually very deep, and symptomatic of much of what is wrong, not just with Sackville, but with society in general: politicians want to look/think “big” and fail to realise that big dreams usually don’t amount to much and lead to no results. What actually matters most is the little/local things, rather than the big dreams. The big dreams follow from the little ones, rather than the other way around.
My two cents, anyway.
I’ll see your two cents and raise you 10! What about the idea, “Think globally, act locally”? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_globally,_act_locally
I’d say that from an environmental PoV, acting locally here would be any action that would lead to improving the local economy, and wouldn’t lead to people driving to Moncton every day, etc. I have no issue with people having their opinions about the pipeline, even if they’re different to mine, but I fail to see how it’s the business of Town Council, whichever side one comes at it from. I’d call it “ultra vires”, to use a fancy term :-).
but Louis… bicycles and solar panels will save us all .. repent earth harmers.. and obey Big Mother … read Niki Raapana and Nordica Friedrich’s epic two-books-in-one .. “2020: Our Common Destiny & The Anti Communitarianian Manifesto” from ACL Books, Alaska, USA … its worth your time .. the legal beagles around here prolly already know communitarian law … in fact I know they do … http://nord.twu.net/acl .. youtube Niki Raapana… Merry Christmas everyone.
(Sally – we’re past the reply thread limit, so I have to reply to my own)
It’s not actually about the environment, really. This kind of thing is about virtue-signalling and pecking order. Just like it’s okay for David Suzuki to fly in a jet plane, while telling the rest of us to be environmentally correct. It turns into a sort of religion, where you’re allowed a bigger carbon footprint if you’re higher up the pecking order.
If Town Council were actually trying to do something about a real, local environmental problem, they’d have my support. I have no desire to destroy nature. They probably wouldn’t however, because it would create meaningful opposition from those that would have resulting financial losses. They’ll prefer to focus on global virtue-signalling, because it comes at no local “cost” – save people like us finding that they’re out of touch, virtue-signalling would-be globalists, instead of effective local politicians. (They’re not all like that, but unfortunately, the majority seem to vote in these types of directions.)