Winnipeg Energy East critics paddle river as part of nationwide event

A group of Winnipeggers cycled and paddled through Winnipeg Saturday morning hoping to shed light on how the proposed Energy East pipeline poses a threat to the environment.

'We are greater than the tar sands' events held in 21 different cities across Canada

A group of Winnipeggers cycled and paddled through Winnipeg Saturday morning hoping to shed light on how TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline poses a threat to the environment.

The 4,600-kilometre pipeline would ship about 1.1 million barrels of crude oil east from Alberta to New Brunswick daily. The project would reuse a 40-year-old natural gas pipeline that runs by Shoal Lake — where Winnipeg gets its drinking water — near the Manitoba-Ontario border.
TransCanada's proposed Energy East pipeline would ship crude from Alberta to New Brunswick. (Canadian Press)

People opposed to the project held "We are greater than the tar sands" events in 21 cities across Canada Saturday. In Winnipeg, participants gathered at Assiniboine Park and either cycled or canoed to Oodena Circle at The Forks as part of the event.

Harold Shuster, one of the organizer's in Winnipeg, said he thinks the public is growing increasingly concerned with the federal government's stance on the climate and oil production.

"We feel that we have a government, a federal government that is trying to turn our country into a petro-state. They're using the tar sands as the major tool for economic development," Shuster said.

"We think there are far more things that the federal government can and should be promoting, and we feel that having ourselves identified as the producers of the dirtiest oil on the planet is not something to celebrate."

Jesse Singer was one of many people who opted to canoe, rather than bike, from Assiniboine Park to the Forks.
Jesse Singer (right) says he thinks people are realizing that investing more in oil development is taking Canada in the wrong direction. (CBC)

Singer said he is displeased with Canada's continued investment in fossil fuel development.

"I think a lot of people are realizing we're going in the wrong direction if we build a big pipeline and invest our future in more oil when we should be getting off oil," said Singer.

"We feel like we need to protect the water — specifically the water from oil spills that would result from the Trans-Canada Energy East pipeline that's being proposed. The spills are dangerous for our environment and for our children's future, and we don't want to see the pipeline be built."

In May of this year, the Manitoba Energy Justice Coalition released a report noting how a rupture in the Energy East pipeline could seep into a number of important waterways across the province that feed into Winnipeg's water supply.