The Coastal Gaslink pipeline is currently the face of division and disgrace across the country, but is Quebec about to face its very own crisis?
While all the attention has been on British Columbia and the widely unwanted project that would create an energy corridor over unceded Wet’suwet’en territory, opposition from Innu communities are mounting in Quebec.
Indeed, it seems like the Quebec government is not taking the nation-wide protests as a warning sign, but instead is planning to go ahead with another controversial natural gas project. The TransCanada pipeline expansion, which would stretch over 780 kilometres from Ontario to Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, is set to undergo environmental review next month. The Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) will be in charge of holding public hearings and studying the construction plans.
Spoiler alert: the pipeline project would cross over ancestral territories.
In 2015, Énergie Saguenay (GNL Quebec), the company responsible for the project, signed an agreement with three Innu First Nations councils from Mashteuiatsh, Essipit and Pessamit. Yet, the agreement was settled without considering Hereditary Chiefs and ancestral rights. Déjà Vu, anyone?
While the pipeline is being sold as a climate crisis solution—hear me laugh—by its supporters, an open letter signed by over 150 scientists and environmentalists shows that the project would lead towards the augmentation of greenhouse emissions and poses a serious threat to biodiversity.
Some of you might think, the review process could put a halt on the project, right? In fact, the BAPE will produce an environmental report with recommendations but ultimately, the Quebec government will have the final say. As Premier François Legault has been demonstrating with his way of pushing controversial bills, he has no scruples when it comes to what he wants. And, unsurprisingly, Legault has repeatedly displayed his support towards the project, against all logic.
Will his government show the same irrationality when it comes to listening to Indigenous communities defending their lands?
The upcoming scenario is alarmingly too predictable.
Graphic by @sundaeghost