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Indigenous Panelists to Weigh In On Energy East

Open Invite sent to Thomas Mulcair, Megan Leslie

by Zack Metcalfe

On Monday, Feb 23, the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office will be hosting a panel of four Indigenous speakers, one from as far away as Manitoba. These speakers will discuss their work to oppose the Energy East oil pipeline. [Zack Metcalfe photo]
On Monday, Feb 23, the Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office will be hosting a panel of four Indigenous speakers, one from as far away as Manitoba. These speakers will discuss their work to oppose the Energy East oil pipeline. [Zack Metcalfe photo]

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) - Four Indigenous speakers, from New Brunswick to Manitoba, plan to weigh in on the proposed Energy East oil pipeline next week during a visit to Halifax, each leader sharing their personal fight against Alberta’s oil crossing their lands.

The Dalhousie Student Union Sustainability Office (DSUSO) is hosting this “Indigenous speakers panel” on campus in the McCain Building from 6:30pm-8pm, Monday, Feb 23.

The Tar Sands Solution Network, a union of environmentally minded organizations opposing projects related to the Alberta Tar Sand, will be holding a strategy meeting in the city that same week, which is why the panel’s Indigenous speakers will be in the Halifax neighbourhood.

“They’re all actively working to resist the pipeline,” said DSUSO internal director Evelien VanderKloet.

The panel will be comprised of four speakers, three of whom hail from lands which are in the intended path of the Energy East pipeline. After hearing from each, the panel discussion will give way to a Q&A.

Panelists will include Judy DaSilva, from Grassy Narrows First Nation in Ontario; Ron Tremblay, of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick; Shelley Young, a member of Eskasoni Mi’kmaw Nation in New Brunswick and Clayton Thomas-Muller, a member of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation, also known as Pukatawagan, located in northern Manitoba. Full bios can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

As fate would have it, the leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP), Thomas Mulcair, will also be in the city that evening, alongside Megan Leslie, NDP MP for the Halifax district. Both have been formally invited to the Indigenous panel, but if they do not attend, VanderKloet said the Indigenous panelists and concerned Halifax citizens are hoping to meet up with these political leaders later that evening.

“Our hope is certainly to have some time to meet with them and let them know what people in Canada really think of this pipeline,” said VanderKloet. “The threat of climate change is real and it’s so immanent that we need to be factoring climate change into every decision that we make. By neglecting to do so, we’re not setting ourselves up for a just and sustainable future. We’re locking ourselves into dead infrastructure. Within Halifax, even though the pipeline isn’t slated to come here, climate change is.”


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