“Saint John, the population is dwindling, and everybody wants a project to bring it back,” says construction contractor Barry Harrigan.
He lives in Red Head, a small community in Saint John, New Brunswick, the end of the line for TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline.
But short-term construction projects don’t have a lasting economic effect, says Harrigan, and he has concerns about the risks to drinking water and the climate posed by the pipeline.
On May 30, residents of Saint John will join others in Atlantic Canada, including Indigenous people from the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Passamaquoddy and Mi'kmaq, to march to the end of the proposed Energy East pipeline and draw a line in the sand.
Photographer Robert van Waarden is documenting stories from Red Head in the lead-up to this march against Energy East. In a series of three audio-visual slideshows, he captures the stories and the sights of a small community in the path of a big pipeline.
The protest in New Brunswick kicks off a summer of climate-related actions across Canada, including a national day of action called We > Tar Sands on July 4 and a march for jobs, justice and the climate in Toronto on July 5.
The largest tar sands pipeline ever proposed, Energy East would carry 1.1 million barrels of oil per day and stretch 4,600 kilometers from Alberta to Red Head, including 1,600 kilometers of new pipeline crossing Quebec and New Brunswick.
The United Nations has reported that 85 per cent of the oil in Alberta’s tar sands must remain buried in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, and critics charge that building this pipeline will make that impossible.
A Ricochet exclusive, this series was produced with the support of 350.org and the Council of Canadians. Check back next week for the second and third instalments.