Moosomin – Moosomin is ground zero in Saskatchewan when it comes to discussions about reviving the Energy East Pipeline project, which is why Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will be speaking there at a planned rally on Feb. 16 at 11 a.m.
If the Energy East Pipeline were to ever go ahead, its key facility in Saskatchewan, a terminal near Moosomin, would play an important part. It would allow practically every drop of southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba oil the option to be shipped on it, to Central and Eastern Canada, as an alternative to the Enbridge mainline, which goes to the Midwest United States.
The event is to take place indoors at the brand new IJack Technologies facility on Highway 8, just on the northern edge of Moosomin. The TransCanada mainline, which would include Energy East, should it be built, passes west to east just a few kilometres north of there.
Sinclair Harrison, who served 30 years as reeve of the RM of Moosomin, is one of the organizers. He is formerly president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) He spoke to Pipeline News on Jan. 29.
Harrison said he was asked by the RM and Town of Moosomin to work on the Energy East Pipeline project. That project, whose application was filed with the National Energy Board in 2014, was originally planned to be in service in 2018. After a number of delays it was scuttled by TransCanada in 2017 after the federal Liberal government added upstream and downstream greenhouse gas emission consideration to the approval process for the pipeline.
However, in recent years there has been a growing chorus to bring the Energy East project back to fruition, including advocacy from Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and the previous and current premiers of New Brunswick, the terminus of the project.
For Moosomin and its surrounding rural municipality, it’s important to get the project going again. Harrison is working with the local economic development committee to that end.
He noted that Moosomin has been involved in the pipeline industry since the 1950s.
Invitations have been sent to the premiers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick. Premier Scott Moe’s office confirmed to Pipeline News that there will be provincial representation, but can’t confirm at this time if the premier will be able to attend due to a potential scheduling conflict.
In a statement to the Moosomin World-Spectator, Harrison said, “The voice of the silent majority needs to be heard.
“Polls that have been done across Canada show there is support for pipelines. To sit back and do nothing is unacceptable, so we will do what we can. We were very fortunate to have the Leader of the Opposition agree to come speak at the rally. Hopefully that will help attract the national media, because we want to get our message out to the whole country.
“It took a lot of work to secure Andrew Scheer as a speaker, but because of his national profile, our event should get a lot of attention, and we want that attention because we have a message that we want to get out to the country—that for places like Moosomin, where people are familiar with pipelines, where people know what pipelines are all about, there’s a lot of support for pipelines.”
Sinclair said that the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities and potash company Nutrien are expected to have representation. An invitation has also been extended to Saskatchewan Senator Denise Batters with regards to Bill C-69, which will dramatically change the way major projects in Canada are evaluated, including pipelines.
The timing of the rally misses by one day the planned transit of a protest convoy, or convoys, through Moosomin on the way to Ottawa. The convoy(s) is expected to pass through Moosomin the morning of Feb. 15, to be in Ottawa for Feb. 19.
Asked about this timing, Harrison said that Scheer’s office had noted he was back in Saskatchewan for three days, and since they didn’t want to do an event on a Sunday or Family Day, they asked for Saturday, Feb. 16.
With regards to recent oilfield protests, there has been contention throughout January with regards to association with the Yellow Vests movement. While several of their stated issues, such as combatting the carbon tax, the need for export pipelines have been broadly universal, the stance of some of the Yellow Vest movement on migration and the United Nations Migration Pact has been problematic for some people. As such, association with Yellow Vests has been, for some people, unwelcome.
Asked if this was a “Yellow Vest” protest, Harrison replied it was not. “It’s a pro-oil and gas, pro-resource rally, not a protest,” he said.
The rally is expected to last from an hour to 1.5 hours. After that, free burgers will be served.
With regards to Moosomin’s broader efforts to re-start the Energy East Project, the town, in cooperation with local newspaper The Moosomin World-Spectator, has put together a website called Energy East 2.0, found at http://www.moosomin.com/energy-east/. The site includes sections on “The Problem,” “The Story Behind Energy East” and “Why Energy East,” as well as a selection of news articles for “In the News.”