Rick Mercer has called out the Montreal mayor for rejecting Energy East. Mayor Denis Coderre explained in the Montreal Gazette and other outlets that he is against the 1 million barrel a day pipeline due to it’s threats to the environment, drinking water, and greenhouse gasses as well as limited economic development.
I only figured this out after I read the Gazette article, because according to Rick Mercer, the biggest beef that Montreal has with the pipeline is that there’s not enough in it for them. And because of that, Quebec is hypocritical for it has accepted transfer payments from Alberta for years. No mention of the environment, health and safety, or any other topics raised.
I was going to write an article about how important our film, One River Many Relations, is. I was going to talk about how the singular arguments pitting one player against the other can change hearts and minds while ignoring the unmentioned ‘losers’ in these national propositions, like those living downstream of this gigaproject. Our film features no scientists, celebrities, or politicians outside of the community, and it offers an intimate and heartbreaking look at the effects of these developments. I was going to say, excitedly, that One River Many Relations will be available to rent, purchase, or show in community screenings IMMINENTLY!
Instead, I’m going to say that I’m disappointed in Rick Mercer, a man whom I generally regard as expertly getting to the crux of many matters. He boils down a very complicated issue into a false dichotomy: Montreal can be selfish or it can be a big-picture-united-country-player. Montreal should ‘get over it.’ Montreal wants something for nothing. These are the same fallacies that have lead to the marginalization of Indigenous peoples all across Canada who are affected by resource extraction and energy in ways that impact them deeply.
I’ll end off with a quote from Coderre on what he expects from Energy East discussions. If you replace mayor with any other indigenous person, chief, elder, or land user, it’s a request that Indigenous people have been making for decades.
…The mayor said “respect” is essential.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about respect, being responsible and having a balanced approach [between economic growth and sustainable development],” he told reporters, standing next to Trudeau at Montreal city hall.
Michael Tyas is the managing editor of One River News. He graduated the University of Manitoba with an honours degree in environmental studies, and is a professional videographer and video trainer. He produced the feature length documentary "One River, Many Relations" in Fort Chipewyan. He continues to work with indigenous communities to share their stories around resource extraction, industrial development, and impacts on traditional territories.