The SaveCanada Story
"The first one of these TransCanada events we went to, they were without even feigned interest in our concerns. Their answers to my questions seemed more like an interrogation. It's suppose to be a 'community consultation' but it's actually a calculated castration. We knew we had to do something..."
So when TransCanada's open house came to our town (North Bay, Ontario), we went dressed as SaveCanada and helped remind them what "community consultation" really means.
TransCanada is trying to sneak through their major new tar sands pipeline ("Energy East") by employing a new tactic to silence opposition: instead of holding a town hall and giving concerned citizens an audience to speak in front of -- they've switched to a trade show format where an army of TransCanada reps can limit questions and conversations to a one-on-one level.
THE RESULT: the citizens don't get to see how widespread the opposition is in their own community.
So we made outfits and outreach materials nearly identical to TransCanada's own, but branded as "SaveCanada". We hit the floor to "work" at the open house, often outnumbering the TransCanada reps! Now we invite you to do the same...
The SaveCanada action began at TransCanada’s open house in North Bay, Ontario, where roughly 30 TransCanada representatives were surprised to see themselves outnumbered by newcomers wearing nearly identical shirts and carrying nearly identical PR materials — but with a twist. The original SaveCanada group had concerns ranging from very-local (the route goes through the municipal drinking water source for their town of 54,000 people) to the larger scale concerns of tar sands expansion and the acceleration of climate change.
After the successful North Bay action, other communities were inspired and reached out to the original team wanting to do similar actions. The resulting SaveCanada recruitment video got over 10,000 views in the first week and over fifteen other communities have since replicated the SaveCanada action, including the Québécois version "SansTransCanada."
"TransCanada's open house format doesn't allow for actual community consultation, even though that is what they are required to do. So we had our presence, and the real information; but mostly were encouraging folks to have their concerns be noted by TransCanada."
"The slight confusion about who was TransCanada and who was SaveCanada really helped the attendees not feel so helpless with their concerns. Everyone I talked to was against this project, they wanted our real information and not TransCanada's half-truths and gift bags."
"I went to the TransCanada open house willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. I left the event with no doubt that they are the only ones who are going to benefit."
"By evilly exaggerating the safety of using an old pipeline, they did not succeed in easing my worries. My faithfulness to having clean water to drink is apparently trumped by the "need" to boil this stuff out of the ground, pipe it clear across the country in an old pipeline built for something else, and then ship it overseas... We can do better!"