A very Canadian protest

A well behaved but noisy protest

An anti-oilsands protest took place in downtown Calgary on Wednesday (Jan 22) morning with a pro-energy group also holding a counter-rally of its own. Approx 100 or so protesters turned up and both sides were in fine voice, in what was a very Canadian demonstration. At times it seemed like each side took it in turns to voice their favour, or disapproval for the project. A very well behaved protest that required the presence of just a dozen or so Police officers. If this had been held on the streets of London (UK), I’m sure the riot Police would have been deployed on mass.

Teck Oil Sands Protestors

Extinction rebellion and Canada Action counter demonstrations

Protestors from the Canadian arm of Extinction Rebellion, an environmental group, turned up at 11 a.m. outside Teck Resources Ltd., on 9 Avenue S.E., to voice their strong opposition of the proposed Teck Frontier mine, just north of Fort McMurray. Members of the non-partisan, pro-pipeline group Canada Action also arrived at the same time to show their support for federal approval of the project. Both sides countered each other with facts about climate change and its impact by this proposed project on the environment.

The mainstream media

One thing that was very apparent was that the mainstream media was mostly focused on the climate activists, and gave very little attention to the pro oil and gas protesters. Make what you will of that, but it’s very clear that those protesting against the Teck project had no answers for how the proposed $70b of projected income would be replaced if they succeeded in blocking this project.

Supporters of the Teck Oil Sands project

$20 billion project already conditionally approved by feds

The $20+ billion open pit mine is approx 292 square kilometres in size or more than twice the size of Vancouver. The project was already conditionally approved by the federal provincial review panel in July of 2019. It is hoped the project will create 7,000 jobs, including 2,500 long-term positions and generate in the region of $70 billion in government revenue. 

Once final approval is granted the Teck Frontier mine could potentially produce up to 260 thousand barrels of oil per day and about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year for more than 40 years. That amount equates to an additional 20 per cent of Canada’s oils sands emissions over the next three decades and would pose a significant obstacle towards the Liberals’ goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Extensive consultations with indigenous communities

Teck Frontier has already done extensive consultations with Indigenous communities, hearing concerns regarding the impacts of the project on treaty rights and has now received the approval of 14 First Nations and Metis groups in the region. The federal government has to make a decision on the mine’s final approval under the Environmental Assessment Act by the end of February 2020. 

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