Reacting to revelations that TransCanada Corp. paid for the Town of Mattawa’s silence, the Council of Canadians delivered a “cease and desist” letter to TransCanada’s lawyers today demanding that they enter into no similar gag order agreements with other municipalities.
Mattawa sits on the proposed path for TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline. The city was offered a $30,000 donation towards the purchase of a rescue truck. The agreement contained an egregious clause requiring the city “not publicly comment on TransCanada’s operations or business projects” for five years.
(This is full text of a media release from the Council of Canadians).
“Communities along the Energy East path are faced with the significant risks of a spill from what would be North America’s largest oil pipeline. Donations with these kinds of strings attached compromise elected officials’ freedom of speech and limit their ability to perform their duties,”said Andrea Harden-Donahue, the Council of Canadians’ Energy and Climate Justice Campaigner.
The letter demands TransCanada immediately cease and desist from attempting to enter into any such agreements with Canadian municipalities.
“We are closely working with legal expertise on this. We warn TransCanada that this kind of action is not tolerable, and we will be watching,” concludes Harden-Donahue.
The letter adds, “Should TransCanada continue to attempt to stifle Canadians’ freedom of expression and undermine their ability to participate in the self-governance of their communities, the Council of Canadians will exercise every available avenue against TransCanada in order to affirm Canadians’ democratic rights.”
TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline could carry 1.1 million barrels of crude per day, including crude from the tar sands. The company wants to convert its 40-year-old natural gas pipeline from Saskatchewan to Ontario. Then, it plans to connect it with new pipeline through Quebec and on to New Brunswick. The 4,400-kilometre pipeline is expected to lead to massive tanker exports from the Atlantic coast to Europe, India, China and the U.S.
Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s leading social action organization with 100,000 supporters across the country. The Council advocates for clean water, fair trade, green energy, public health care, and a vibrant democracy.