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Outaouais, Québec : La Marche pour nos rivières

Valerie Villemarie and Chantal Sundaram

September 20, 2016

On August 14, La Marche pour nos rivières, a march along the whole length of the Ottawa River, was launched in Saint-André d’Argenteuil, Québec, and ended on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on August 20 - a total of 122 kilometers.


The march was to bring the attention of people, politicians and the media to the dangers posed by the Energy East pipeline for the water of the region and for the planet. But marchers and their supporters also seemed to be sending a message against pipelines in general.


Since its foundation in April, the committee "Stop Oléoduc Outaouais (SOO)" has worked to organize this march with many other groups. On August 14 the march was launched by a Mohawk delegation, activists from “Coule pas chez nous!” (“No oil where we live”) and Amir Khadir, Québec MNA for Québec solidaire.


And then, on August 20, people from diverse social communities joined the march for the last segment, which left Lac Beauchamp at 9:30am and reached downtown Hull at 1pm. In Hull it was joined by a Quebec solidaire contingent to march on to Parliament Hill. There, a crowd was waiting to welcome the marchers. All in all, more than a hundred people joined the march at one point or another. On the Hill Manon Massé, Québec solidaire MNA and environment critic, delivered an electrifying speech condemning Energy East.


Energy East would mean a commitment of forty years in support of the expansion of the tar sands industry. Opposition to this pipeline's passage through the territory of Quebec is growing and reflects the desire of the Quebec population for a rapid transition to green energy. It is not in the interests of ordinary people for such a pipeline to be built. Energy East would benefit only a small number of wealthy people who don’t live anywhere near the beautiful region of the Outaouais.


SOO is trying to raise awareness since most people don’t even know about the project at all. There has already been a huge mobilization against such a pipeline near Montreal, and it was effective: they couldn’t build the pipeline there because public opinion was so against it. This is why there was a change of plans to build the pipeline along small communities in the Outaouais instead.


Now, some members of the SOO committee are engaging local politicians in discussion to make sure that raised awareness results in real measures taken against the pipelines. 

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