Whose side are you on?

Over one hundred protestors were arrested Monday afternoon as they scaled makeshift security fences on Parliament Hill in protest against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

The demonstration, which took place amidst heightened security, was held to oppose TransCanada’s proposed $7-billion, 2,673-kilometre pipeline that would ferry tar sands oil from Alberta to Texan refineries.

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Clayton Thomas-Müller, tar sands organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network, said the pipeline extension would result in a 30% increase of tar sands extraction.

Thomas-Müller added there were environmental and health concerns from varying First Nations communities whose land the pipeline will pass through.

“If we look at the original Keystone project that went live last year, there’s been 13 blowouts in 12 months,” said Thomas-Müller. “And this is coming with the same reassurances from the same voices that are pushing for the pipeline extension.”
Jackie Thomas, Saik’uz First Nation Chief, told the crowd of several hundred who brandished banners with slogans like “Stop Tarmageddon”, that “they want to bulldoze their way through our lands and our rivers.”

“We’re standing up for our Cree and Dene brothers and sisters downstream who are being poisoned,” Thomas said.

Maude Barlow, chair for the Council for Canadians, was one of the first to be arrested by the dozens of RCMP officers present.

“If you take a look at the proposed and present pipelines from tar sands of northern Alberta it looks like a corporate snakes and ladders board,” said Marlow.

“It’s about extracting the oil as fast as they can – it doesn’t matter who gets hurt. The energy companies in this country are driving policy and not the other way around.”

Last month the U.S. State Department reported that the project would have no negative impact on climate change and downplayed fears of leakages. A final decision is expected from the Obama administration later this year.

A further protest is planned for Washington, D.C. on October 6.