• Katherine Massam

A clear ‘No’ to TransCanada Pipelines and to Bill 106 from local citizens


PHOTO COURTESY CITOYENS AU COURANT

Citoyens au Courant members Lorraine Caron (left) and Katherine Massam get feedback on the proposed TransCanada pipeline project from attendees at the Town of Très-Saint-Rédempteur’s annual festival.

While festivities were underway at the Fête du Village in Très-St-Rédempteur (TSR) on Sunday, local citizens participated in an opinion poll on two important issues that could have a dramatic impact on their future.

“The vast majority of people at the fête wanted to participate” said TSR resident Katherine Massam.

The first opinion poll was on the subject of Energy East, the pipeline being proposed by TransCanada Pipelines which will run along the Ontario border at Vaudreuil-Soulanges, before crossing into Rigaud and through the Ottawa River at Pointe-Fortune.

“As a resident of Rigaud, my drinking water comes directly from the Ottawa River, along with 2.5 million others who live downstream including Hudson and Vaudreuil-Dorion. Transcanada’s leak detection systems don’t even detect 50% of pipeline spills, and a leak at the Ottawa River could devastate our economy” said Annette Richter.

In all 70 citizens asked the provincial government to publicly oppose the pipeline project.

The second opinion poll dealt with Bill 106, introduced by the provincial government in June. The bill proposes a legal framework for the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas resources in Quebec as well as the creation of a new entity that would be responsible to implement the government's new energy policy. Hearings on Bill 106 are taking place this week, with the majority of invited participants being openly in favour of the bill.

“Citizens were refused access to the parliamentary hearings, so we decided to conduct our own local poll,” said Charles St-Pierre of TSR. “After all, the bill will allow gas and oil companies to come and drill in our backyards, so it affects us directly.”

Bill 106 will give oil and gas companies the right to drill and carry out fracking in Quebec, giving only 30 days notice to landowners. “If a fracking company wants to drill on your property, you have to negotiate with the company on conditions of access. If you can’t agree, they can expropriate,” said Jean-Philippe Lafortune of Rigaud.

Bill 106 also gives oil and gas companies the right to use municipal control of water sources and change zoning rules in order to facilitate extraction projects, without consulting municipalities.

The opinion poll asked the provincial government to change the law in order to better protect citizens, and restore the moratorium on fracking in Quebec. Sixty-seven people signed the poll.

“The Provincial Government made clear pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec (37.5% by 2030, and 80% by 2050), and the development of non-conventional oil and gas will likely make those targets impossible to reach,” said St. Lazare resident Lorraine Caron. “The provincial government needs to help alternative energy development, not gas and oil development. That’s the future.”

Both opinion polls will be delivered this week to Soulanges MP Lucie Charlebois.

Text of the two opinion polls

Energy East:

Energy East is the pipeline proposed by TransCanada Pipelines. Its route is close to our homes and it will cross the Ottawa River. This pipeline will carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day (175 million litres). TransCanada has been told by engineers that it cannot cross the Ottawa River using a traditional method. The company has asked the MRC of Vaudreuil-Soulanges for a permit to conduct seismic testing at the river. The MRC has asked for details about the impact of these tests and TransCanada has given no information.

The permit has been refused on this basis. The MRC is acting responsibly. Our municipal politicians want to protect the Ottawa River from an oil spill. The river is essential to our economy, our agriculture and our health. It is the drinking water source for 2.5 million people. The Energy East pipeline will provide virtually no long-term jobs in Quebec.

I support the actions of our MRC with regard to the Transcanada pipelines project and ask our provincial government to publicly oppose the project, just like the UPA, the 82 municipalities of the Montreal Metroplitan Community, several MRCs, the FTQ and others.

Bill 106:

Bill 106 on hydrocarbons should not be passed without major changes. For example, no oil or gas company should be allowed to expropriate citizens from their home or use municipal drinking water for their projects. Municipalities should retain the right to protect drinking water sources on their territory and control over zoning. Furthermore, the government should renew the moratorium on fracking as these practices have serious consequences for the environment and the residents. Finally, the development of non-conventional fossil fuels in Quebec would prevent the Government of Quebec from meeting its commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% before 2020, by 37.5% before 2030 and by 50% by 2050 (from 1990 levels).

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