The Winnipeg Paddle and Pedal was a huge success! The bikes and boats brought the message through the city that Canadians should reject TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline and the threat it poses to the land and water. Read some of the media coverage HERE and HERE
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It was part of a nation-wide day of action to oppose the tar sands expansion that declared “We are greater than the tar sands” in 21 different cities across the country.
The proposed pipeline would cross the Winnipeg aqueduct and run only a few kilometres from Shoal Lake, which supplies clean drinking water to most of Manitoba. The diluted bitumen from the tar sands would be shipped in a 40-year-old natural gas pipeline.
Our action in Winnipeg involved people either biking or boating from Assiniboine Park to Oodena Circle at the Forks for an event with live music and speaker presentations on issues related to the tar sands and climate change.
The group of close to one hundred cyclists chanted “No pipeline! Protect the water!” as city police escorted them down the streets. Clayton Thomas-Muller, an organizer and activist speaking at the event, said he believes we have a moral obligation to stop the pipeline project from going forward. “We want an economic paradigm that does not sacrifice communities,” Thomas-Muller said.
“This is about holding the government of Canada and the provincial government of Manitoba responsible to take concrete action on climate change and to say ‘no’ to destructive projects like the Energy East pipeline.”
The crowd also heard from Daryl Redsky, Consultation Officer for Shoal Lake 40. He has been living in the First Nation community that has not had drinkable water for over 18 years. “The fight to protect the water is nothing new in our community,” Said Redsky.
“I’m glad to see that people are getting on board with fighting for the land and water. Mother Earth and the water, they need us now.”
Shoal Lake 40 was frequently mentioned throughout the event as there is now pressure mounting from petitions to the government to build an all season road for the community.
Here is the full video of the event.