• Carmen Marie Fabio

Greater than Tar Sands group protests at Jack Layton Park in Hudson

PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO Over 100 peaceful protesters headed out on the Lake of Two Mountains July 4 as part of the ‘Greater than Tar Sands’ cross-country campaign denouncing western Canada’s tar sands operation.

A flotilla of over 100 paddlers headed out on the Lake of Two Mountains off the shores of Hudson as part of the ‘We are Greater than Tarsands’ cross-Canada protest Saturday, July 4. Beginning at 10 a.m., representatives from grassroots organizations including Coule pas Chez Nous, Citoyens au Courant, Climate Justice Montreal, and even the Raging Grannies took stage in Jack Layton Park to denounce the Harper Government’s tar sands’ project. Following speeches and music, individuals and groups headed out in kayaks and canoes in a colourful contingent across the water to Oka.

“This activity is to encourage awareness raising and for bringing attention to the importance of the Ottawa River, as Montreal’s most important source of drinking water,” said Citoyens au Courant representative Katherine Massam. “The Quebec Government, along with Enbridge, think the risk the pipeline poses is acceptable, 588 litres per minute (of oil). I happen to disagree and so does everyone here.”

Enbridge Inc. was recently given the green light for its 9B reversal project that will see diluted bitumen flow from the tar sands project in Alberta eastward, through a 40-year-old pipeline to refineries in Montreal but contingent on conditions. The National Energy Board (NEB) has said the company must carry out hydrostatic testing on three portions of the pipeline. This does not include the part running under the Ottawa River. As part of the Raging Grannies/Mémés déchaînées group, Lachine resident Nancy Brown said protecting the environment was one of the group’s social activism platforms.

“We care about it for future generations.” said Brown. “Many of us are grandmothers and (are protesting) the idea of a pipeline running through our beloved region. A pipeline that we know will have spills. It’s not a question of ‘if,’ it’s a question of ‘when.’ Brown said the group’s research revealed it takes more fossil fuel to get the oil out of the tar sands than the fossil fuel produced by the process. “It’s a net loss of energy and it also uses a huge amount of fresh water.”

Brown said the grannies are also taking a stand against the infringement of the rights of many Native people who live in the pipeline’s path. “This is our way of reminding the government, and the National Energy Board , that fresh clean water is important to us and that we should be leaning towards renewable energy sources.”

Citing one of the slogans proclaimed on placards, Brown said the government needs to ‘Leave the oil in the soil, Leave the sand in the land, Leave the coal in the hole.’

For more photos of this event, see our Facebook page.

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