O Canada! SaveCanada needs mischievous folks in Ontario and Quebec to stop TransCanada's latest Tar Sands pipeline—by dressing up and talking to people over the next three weeks! Visit www.save-canada.com for full details and to join, to watch the video, and for an account of one action.
As you may know, TransCanada is now planning another pipeline, this one sending oodles of tar sands crud east.
This time, they're employing a special new tactic to bypass the opposition that's stalled two other pipelines (south and west): instead of holding a town hall, which lets citizens see how many other folks are concerned, they've switched to a trade-show format where an army of TransCanada reps can limit questions and conversations to a one-on-one level. The result: folks don't get to see how widespread the opposition is in their own community.
When TransCanada came to one Canadian town to promote their new pipeline, a group of locals took action: they made outfits and handouts nearly identical to TransCanada's own, but branded as "SaveCanada." At the event, they spoke with citizens about risks, handed out pamphlets, pinned "bitumen spill" stickies on TransCanada's big pipeline map, and otherwise ruined TransCanada's plans. Connections were made, people were empowered, and a town, once paralyzed, blossomed into a powerful and mobilized community.
Sept. 30, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Pipeline Company's PR Dream Turns Into a Nightmare
TransCanada's "community consultation" squad dogged by activist lookalikes
In towns across Canada, troupes of mischievous activists are successfully derailing the attempts of TransCanada—the company building the stalled Keystone XL pipeline—to ram through their latest proposed project, the Energy East pipeline, which would bring over a million barrels of Tar Sands oil to the East Coast for export, primarily to Europe and Asia.
During previous pipeline projects, stakeholders were able to express concerns in front of their whole community. To impede the type of opposition that has stalled past projects, this time TransCanada has changed the format of community consultations, turning them into trade-show-like promotional events where stakeholders can only speak one-on-one with company representatives (or PR contractors hired for the occasion).
To outwit this latest ploy by TransCanada, local activists all along the pipeline route have been swarming these events dressed just like TransCanada reps, but with lookalike "SaveCanada" name tags and brochures. Instead of promoting the pipeline, the SaveCanada reps communicate risks.
"Since TransCanada has come up with a new way to lie to the public, we had to come up with a new way to tell the truth," said North Bay farmer Yan Roberts, who helped to launch the unusual protest. "We're friendly folks, so our solution is to dress like them, outnumber them, and 'out-friendly' them in every community they're trying to scam."
The series of SaveCanada actions began at TransCanada's open house in North Bay, where roughly 30 TransCanada reps were surprised to see their meeting overwhelmed by newcomers wearing nearly identical shirts and also carrying slick PR materials, but with a twist.
Now, ten other towns have orchestrated their own versions of the prank. When TransCanada came to the Montréal area on September 24, members of the Québécois SaveCanada counterpart, "SansTransCanada," nearly outnumbered the TransCanada reps. A Global TV segment even identified a SansTransCanada activist as a TransCanada rep.
The Montréal SaveCanada action came to a carnivalesque conclusion when attendees were invited to play "pin the bitumen spill on the pipeline" and a crowd formed around TransCanda's large route map to see where the sticky-note spill would end up.
NASA's James Hansen has said of the Keystone XL pipeline that, if built, it will be "game over" for the climate. This is truer still for the Energy East pipeline, as it's designed to carry a greater volume. The new pipeline also threatens the local communities in its path with inevitable leaks.
"In the next few weeks TransCanada is holding more of these so-called 'consultations,' and we are looking forward to seeing them derailed by every community they hope to fool." said Roberts. "Then we'll see what they try next, and we'll derail that, too."
Upcoming TransCanada "consultations" are scheduled in: Saint-Honoré-de-Témiscouata, Québec (Oct. 1); Kemptville, Ontario and St-Onésime-d'Ixworth, Québec (October 2); Montmagny, Québec and Horton, Ontario (Oct. 3); and Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's capital city (Oct. 10). To help derail one of these events, please visit www.save-canada.com.
"Companies may try to invent new ways to fool people, but citizens will always be more powerful because we care more," said Shona Watt, a local organizer of the Montréal SaveCanada/SansTransCanada action. "What's guaranteed is that, ultimately, people will win."