News / Halifax

Protesters call on Liberals to stop Energy East pipeline outside Halifax fundraiser

More than 30 people protested outside a café on Gottingen Street where Liberal MP Andy Fillmore was hosting an event for Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

Organizer Hannah Mills talks to federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna during a protest on Monday night.

Zane Woodford / Metro Order this photo

Organizer Hannah Mills talks to federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna during a protest on Monday night.

Anti-pipeline protesters outside a Liberal fundraiser in Halifax got some face time with the event’s guest of honour on Monday night.

More than 30 people joined the demonstration in front of Seven Bays Café on Gottingen Street, where Liberal MP Andy Fillmore was hosting a $125-per-ticket event welcoming federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

McKenna stopped for nearly 20 minutes on her way into the event. She listened to protest organizer Hannah Mills speak to the group through a megaphone, calling on the two Liberal MPs in attendance to take a stand against pipelines, and specifically, to stop TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline.

Liberal MPs Andy Fillmore and Catherine McKenna listen to protestors speak at a demonstration outside their fundraiser on Monday night.

Zane Woodford/Metro

Liberal MPs Andy Fillmore and Catherine McKenna listen to protestors speak at a demonstration outside their fundraiser on Monday night.

After Mills speech, she and McKenna spoke directly.

McKenna told Mills she couldn’t legally stop the National Energy Board process already underway to come up with a recommendation for the government on Energy East, but said she wanted to hear people’s concerns.

“I am working very hard on this file, and I’m going across the country to hear from people like you,” McKenna said. “It’s really important that your voices are heard and this is what I need to get a serious climate plan, so thank you for your help.”

Mills was unimpressed.

“I think that the Liberals like to play a very smooth PR game,” she said in an interview after speaking with McKenna. “They don’t want to say anything that’ll make anyone upset, they don’t like to make commitments.”

Mills said she was happy that McKenna and Fillmore were willing to talk, though she said an invitation to join their function inside was retracted after Fillmore heard she was organizing a protest.

“We wouldn’t be out here unless we thought it could have some kind of impact,” she said.

Dorene Bernard of the Sipekne'katik First Nation leads the group in a song during Monday night's protest.

Dorene Bernard of the Sipekne'katik First Nation leads the group in a song during Monday night's protest.

Dorene Bernard of the Sipekne'katik First Nation, also known as Indian Brook, led a smudging ceremony before speaking to the crowd about the effect oil and gas development is having on the country.

“We just turn on the news, and every day there’s a new spill, there’s a new disaster,” she said. “Right behind those disasters are more pipelines, more corporations that are coming in to do more damage.”

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