Keystone Pipeline Rejected
TransCanada Corp’s proposal for an intercontinental pipeline to move tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico was rejected by Washington on Jan. 18. The Obama administration ruled that a proper environmental assessment could not be conducted in the 60-day deadline set by Congress. This victory for “radicals” – what the Harper government has deemed opponents of the tar sands and its proposed conduits – comes with the caveat of inevitable future proposals. A statement released by the US State Department specified that, “denial of the permit application does not preclude any subsequent permit application or applications for similar projects.” Whimpering from industry and governmental officials in Canada signalled that new pipeline route proposals would be drawn up with a further need to diversify energy exports with an eye on Asia. Little doubt remains that the dirty energy lobby and their allies in Ottawa will increase efforts at pushing through the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline from the tar sands through B.C. to the Pacific. However, with their confidence already shaken, government and industry have a tough fight ahead as thousands are speaking out against the proposal which crosses through the heart of unceded Indigenous territory.
NCC angers residents over highway expansion and road closures in Gatineau
Protesters rallied in early January against National Capital Commission (NCC) plans to extend Highway 5 through the Gatineau Park. The proposed six-lane expansion will link Gatineau to Wakefield. A Wakefield resident occupied a massive pine tree 100-feet up after negotiations broke down between the NCC and environmental groups. Opponents are worried that the eastern boundary of the park, home to mature forests and wetlands, will be destroyed in the course of the expansion. Meanwhile, plans to shut down a portion of Gamelin Road, a small road linking Hull motorists to the park, has residents questioning the NCC’s message of conservation in the face of large highway construction.
Gatineau encourages assimilation, issues values guide to new immigrants
In the wake of heightened immigration to Gatineau, the city recently issued a Statement of Values for newcomers. The 16-point guide offers a variety of pointers, ranging from encouraging new immigrants to be punctual, to refraining from cooking smelly food and engaging in honour killings. Although rightfully acknowledging that journalists in Canada have the right to openly criticize their government, critics have deemed the guide “redundant,” “infantilizing,” and “paternalistic.” Its emphasis on Quebec as a secular province –encouraging newcomers not to display their religion in public –may have been misinterpreted, as two mosques in Gatineau were vandalized on numerous occasions in recent weeks.