Anti- and pro- pipeline rallies face off as Enbridge shareholders meet in Calgary

Pipeline supporters and opponents held side-by-side rallies outside a downtown Calgary hotel Wednesday, where Enbridge was holding a shareholders meeting on the Line 3 pipeline replacement project.

Calgary police estimated about 200 people attended the duelling protests, the majority of whom were pipeline supporters. 

“I know a lot of people that have lost work including my husband,” said Victoria Wallace, a geologist with an oil and gas company who attended the rally.

“I think it’s important for Canada’s economy overall.”

About 170 of the 200 protesters in attendance were in favour of pipelines. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

The pipeline replacement project is intended to run between Alberta and Wisconsin. While it has federal approval in Canada and a presidential permit in the U.S., it’s being held up by state regulators.

In April, a judge gave a conditional green light to the project, as long as the company follows its existing pipeline corridor — not a planned new route — and replaces the current pipeline as opposed to abandoning it.

Wallace called the counter-protesters stances “ironic.”

“We’re importing a lot of oil and gas from countries that don’t have very good human rights and Canadian oil and gas is very ethical,” she said.

‘It’s terrifying, frankly’

Tara Houska, the national director for Indigenous environmental group Honour the Earth, said the hostility pro-pipeline protesters brought to her group of about 30 anti-pipeline advocates was “unfortunate and very disappointing.”

Houska, an attorney from Couchiching First Nation in Minnesota, attended the meeting as a proxy shareholder. 

“They have a very bad spill record,” she said. “Enbridge is responsible for the largest spill in U.S. history. We look at something like that and we’re talking about it going through protected watersheds, untouched areas. It’s terrifying, frankly.

“As Native people it passes through our wild rice beds, our wild rice is sacred to who we are.”

The anti-pipeline protesters voiced concerns with Enbridge’s history of spills. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Another pro-pipeline protester, Brian Wimmer who owns a plumbing business in Didsbury, Alta., said he was there to support pipelines not only for oil and gas jobs, but for how much they bring to Alberta’s economy as a whole.

“Over the last 20 years, if there wasn’t oil and gas we wouldn’t have been that busy,” Wimmer said.

Houska pointed to the fact that the jobs impacted by Line 3 would largely be south of the border, and argued there are better ways to keep the economy afloat. 

“We want them to have jobs, we want jobs for working class people. But I want them to have jobs that are not going to destroy our environment,” she said.



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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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