Sometimes Ecology Ottawa supporters and allies leave us in awe. Actually most of the time. Take today. It was chilly. It was the middle of the week. It was pretty early in the morning too, but still Ottawa residents took time out of their busy work days to deliver a message to TransCanada and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce:
An Energy East pipeline showcase the day before Earth Day? Not in our city!
We created an amazingly festive atmosphere outside of the Sheraton Hotel with free breakfast (courtesy of G-spot) and coffee, songs performed by the brilliant Raging Grannies and speeches from Ottawa’s environmental leaders. And thanks to Outaouais pour la Justice Climatique et Sociale, we had a great game of pipelines and ladders too. Check out the photos!
All the while on the inside of the Sheraton, TransCanada’s Ontario director was doing his sales pitch to a seemingly already sold and complicit Chamber of Commerce on the Energy East pipeline. If approved, Energy East would pump 1.1 million barrels of dirty tar sands oil every day through our city.
The Chamber of Commerce hosting and helping a pipeline company sell a project we know will produce more global warming greenhouse gas emissions and threaten Ottawa’s waterways is disappointing enough. What makes it mind boggling is the Chamber thought it was ok to do this on the eve of Earth Day! This is like hosting a tobacco executive on the eve of Lung Cancer day.
So Ottawa environmental leaders made a stand today. Ottawa residents like Janice Ashworth of the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-operative and Rolly Montpellier of Ottawa350 talked about the importance of shifting to 100% clean energy. Andrea Harden-Donahue of Council of Canadians reminded the crowd that opposition to Energy East is growing from the Prairies to the Maritimes.
And Mitchell Beer, a long-time Ecology Ottawa supporter and friend, announced he had resigned from the Chamber’s environmental committee because a business association in 2016 should not promoting the interests of the fossil fuels industry. Not to mention the distinct bitter after taste left when the Chamber simply ignored its own environment committee’s recommendations to either move or cancel the event, or at least to change its format to allow for an actual discussion.
It’s no small feat to gather this many people in Ottawa, so early in the morning, but it was definitely one of those days that reminded us how great the people of Ottawa are and how they will stop at nothing to make sure our city becomes Canada’s green capital.
Thank you so much to everyone who came out today. Special thanks to our partners 350 Ottawa, Greenpeace Ottawa, Council of Canadians, FossilFree UOttawa, Groupe d’Action Équiterre en Outaouais, and Outaouais pour la Justice Sociale et Climatique, with breakfast provided by the Carleton Food Collective! An even more special thank you from some amazing volunteers who helped make this possible: Judy Burwell, Mike Fletcher, Gabrielle Arkett, Brigitte Michaud, Derek Leahy, Jeremy Colbeck, Daniel Cayley-Daoust, Jacob Boutwell and Fan Li! Finally, huge thanks to the Raging Grannies for their ever inspiring performances! A special thanks to Mike Gifford for the images (find more from Mike here: https://t.co/dJSCn3UNiM).
We’d like to think we made our Mother Earth proud today!