Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ex-Student Leader Says Liberals and NDP Must Reject Pipeline to Win Quebec Seats

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ex-Student Leader Says Liberals and NDP Must Reject Pipeline to Win Quebec Seats

Article excerpt

Pipeline to be election issue: ex-student leader


MONTREAL - The NDP and the Liberals must stand against the Energy East pipeline if they hope to have success in Quebec come federal election time, says one of the faces of the province's 2012 student movement.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, who surged to prominence with his articulate defence of low tuition, is lending his reputation and name recognition to stopping TransCanada's plan to pump Albertan oil through Quebec.

"There are 78 federal ridings in Quebec," Nadeau-Dubois said. "If they want these ridings, they are going to have a position that reflects the opinions on the ground."

Polls indicate most Quebecers don't favour the project but it's unclear how pipeline politics will play as an election issue.

Nor is it clear if Nadeau-Dubois, 24, who helped students win the tuition fight in 2012, will be able to thwart a pan-Canadian project TransCanada (TSX:TRP) says will create thousands of jobs and add billions to the economy.

The Liberals favour the pipeline -- contingent on certain conditions -- while the NDP hasn't yet decided.

Nadeau-Dubois' goal is to encourage Quebecers along the proposed route to pressure local governments to reject the project.

It took just one week for his online crowdfunding campaign to raise $400,000 to fight the pipeline. The money went to a Quebec-based anti-pipeline organization called Coule pas chez nous, which translates roughly as Don't Spill In Our Backyard.

He said the first cheques from the fund will be spent on transporting people to Quebec City for an April 11 protest on climate change that is expected to draw people from across Canada.

Nadeau-Dubois said he's also touring junior colleges in Quebec to try to persuade youngsters to join the environmental movement.

"The students know me from 2012 and I am trying to use that recognition to let them know there is another issue that is very important and the student movement can play a role."

Erick Lachapelle, a political science professor at Universite de Montreal who researches politics and the energy industry in Quebec, says his polling suggests up to two-thirds of Quebecers oppose the Energy East pipeline. …

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