HOT TOPICS ▶ Climate Change     Undoing The New Deal     The Real Baltimore     Reality Asserts Itself     United Kingdom    

  November 9, 2015

Will Trudeau's Pipeline Policy Change After Keystone?

As protestors staged sit-ins at Canada's Prime Minister's residence, Keystone XL Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network's Dallas Goldtooth and environmental activist Dimitri Lascaris discuss the grassroots strategies needed to keep the pressure on politicians
Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter

Understanding info is a powerful thing. Thank you to all of your reporters for making a significant difference. - Nancy SmithEaken
Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer, journalist and activist. After working in the New York and Paris offices of a major Wall Street law firm, Dimitri became a class action lawyer in Canada. His practice focused on shareholder rights, environmental wrongs and human rights. In 2012, Canadian Lawyer Magazine named him one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada, and in 2013, Canadian Business Magazine named him one of the 50 most influential persons in Canadian business. Dimitri ran for the Green Party in Canada’s 2015 federal election and has served as the Justice Critic in the Green Party of Canada shadow cabinet.


JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore.

To welcome the new prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, climate activists have planned a series of civil disobedience actions this week. On Thursday, dozens marched to Trudeau's residence and held a sit-in to demand Trudeau stop the extraction of tar sands. Trudeau has voiced support for the Keystone XL pipeline, and now sits on the opposite side of the argument from President Obama. On Friday morning President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, citing concerns about its environmental impact.

So where does this leave Trudeau's plan for the environment? Joining us now to discuss all of this are our two guests. Dimitri Lascaris, he is an attorney, and he actually joins us there on the ground in front of Trudeau's residence, and he's a board member of the Real News. And joining us from Chicago is Dallas Goldtooth. He's a Keystone XL organizer for Indigenous Environmental Network. Thank you both for joining us.

So Dallas, this is major, major news for those following the climate change grassroots movement. First of all, congratulations, because I know you've really been on the front line of this. And what do you see as being the major, major catalyst for getting President Obama to change his mind about the Keystone XL pipeline deal?

DALLAS GOLDTOOTH: First of all, I want to say thank you. We are crazy ecstatic about the news and this decision that President Obama made today. I can't hold my excitement in, I'm just kind of running all over. Because this has been a decision that's been seven years in the making. I mean, this has, it's been--the permit application has been sitting with the State Department for over seven years. And it's really been the grassroots effort, the people on the ground, tribal nations, tribal communities, treaty leaders, First Nations people in Canada, landowners and farmers and ranchers coming together, unifying on this effort together, and having a strategic plan of sustained action that has created this, this movement that we're seeing right now, and culminating in this decision by President Obama. So it's a great, this is a great experience. It's a great day.

DESVARIEUX: I hear you. And this movement is definitely going strong in Canada, as well. Dimitri, you're joining us there outside of Trudeau's residence. Can we, can you just tell us, what has Prime Minister Trudeau's response been after President Obama's announcement?

DIMITRI LASCARIS: [Inaud.] the celebration hasn't stopped. And I want to congratulate our brothers and sisters in the United States for their tremendous success in bringing an end to this disastrous pipeline project, this is wonderful news. The prime minister promptly issued a statement following the announcement by President Obama. The first thing that he said was that he was disappointed with the decision, which caused a hearty round of boos from the activists here. But then he went on to say that he understands that this is the prerogative of the U.S. president, that the relationship is much bigger than one pipeline project. The relationship between Canada and the United States. And that he's looking forward to working towards a resolution of the climate crisis and the development of the green economy.

The problem with this statement, it sounds good enough on the surface, but fundamentally he is not committing to freeze the expansion of the tar sands. And there are other pipeline projects on the table. The biggest one, Energy East, which would run right across Canada, almost the entire length of Canada, that's not one we can be saved from by President Obama. It doesn't cross the border. So we would have to without the help of our American friends bring that to a closure. And right now Prime Minister Trudeau is not committing to bring an end to those pipeline projects and to freeze expansion of the tar sands. And so that's why we're here today. And we're not going anywhere until we get that commitment.

DESVARIEUX: Dallas, you just heard Dimitri talk about the Energy East pipeline. I want you to be able to have this moment and celebrate, but what are sort of plans for the future with proposed pipelines? What do you guys have planned?

GOLDTOOTH: Yeah. Well, here in the Indigenous Environmental Network, I mean, we've been a part of this campaign to shut down the tar sands for a number of years. I mean, this movement really began with a small group of families right in the heart of the tar sands [inaud.] families who just started voicing their opinion and telling the world about the issues that they're facing. So this is a huge win, not only for the KXL campaign, it's not just a huge win for the U.S. climate justice movement, but this is actually a very strategic win for the campaign to shut down the tar sands. I mean, the tar sands is a mega project of, has octopus arms going all over the place. And our job is to basically take down those little octopus legs to get it to the market. And so this sends a huge signal to the industry that their time has come, and that they should see the writing on the wall.

So I think that here in the U.S. we definitely want to pay attention to also Enbridge efforts to expand their capacity going through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Enbridge network in the United States. So I think definitely we want to celebrate this moment, acknowledge it and just live it up. But we know that the struggle continues and that we are going to push forward using this energy, this amazing, amazing energy, to accomplish our goals to shut down tar sands and to address climate change in a very direct way.

DESVARIEUX: Yeah, and I think that was a great visual, thinking of all the tentacles of these pipelines. Because Trudeau, he's really come out campaigning, talking about building a better nation-to-nation relationship with Canada's indigenous people, Dimitri, and I want to turn to you. So Dimitri, we just heard Dallas saying that they're going to continue their fight on the U.S. side of the border. In terms of the Canadian side of the border, what about the future proposed pipelines? What are you guys planning to do to really change the course of these pipelines?

LASCARIS: You know, we have to, we just have to exert constant, massive, relentless pressure, and that's the only way. I mean, we're dealing here with a government, it certainly seems to be more sensitive to the climate crisis than the predecessor. But the predecessor government of Stephen Harper set the bar so low that just about anything would constitute an improvement. What we need is for this government to understand that it represents the people of Canada, and not the oil industry of Canada. And that means it must freeze tar sands expansion, it must say no to pipeline projects that will facilitate the expansion. And frankly, given its relationship to the oil industry historically, the only way that's going to happen is with massive public pressure.

So this is the beginning--it's not even the beginning. This has been going on for some time. But this is the next step in our efforts at the grassroots level to apply that pressure and to increase the pressure so that finally the prime minister begins to respond to the needs of the populace and humanity as a whole, and not a narrow, industrial interest based in Alberta.

DESVARIEUX: All right. Dimitri Lascaris as well as Dallas Goldtooth, thank you both for joining us.

GOLDTOOTH: Thank you for having us.

LASCARIS: Thank you.

DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.


DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at

latest stories

Can Trump's Neocons Exploit Russiagate? (2/2)
Is Russia a Threat?
Why is a Russian Troll Farm Being Compared to 9/11?
Wilkerson: The Trump-Netanyahu Iran Plan Means War
President Ramaphosa: From Militant Revolutionary to Corporate Magnate
Were Baltimore's Corrupt Cops High When They Made Attempted Murder Arrest?
Baltimore's Metro Shutdown Underscores City's Transportation Problem (1/2)
Empire Files: In the Deadliest Country for Unions & Social Leaders
A New 'Cancer Alley' for Appalachia
Colombian Peace Agreement with FARC on the Brink of Collapse
Philippine War on Drugs a Cover for President Duterte's Fascism?
Mother of Woman Shot by Baltimore County Police Speaks Out
South Africa: Criminality and Deep Rot in the ANC Will Continue Under New President Ramaphosa (2/2)
Do Russiagate Skeptics Go Too Far?
The Return of Berlusconi: Can A Fractured Left Defeat Him?
Potomac Pipeline Would Be 'Another Contradiction' From Larry Hogan
Police Union Keeps Audit Secret Despite Allegations of Massive Overtime Fraud
Guns, Toxic Masculinity, and the Alt-Right
Zuma's Catastrophic Presidency Ends in Forced Resignation (1/2)
Brother of Crooked Cop Says He Knows Who Killed Detective Suiter
Israeli Strikes in Egypt Kept Secret for Years
As the Opioid Crisis Deepens, Will Maryland Democrats Vote to Save Lives?
The Free Market Threat to Democracy
Finding a SALT Tax Deduction Workaround
Florida Shooter Is MAGA Hat-Wearing White Supremacist Who Said Mexicans Should Be Killed and Black People Should Be in Chains
Charter School Principal: No Evidence Privatization Is Better For Students
Max Blumenthal in Gaza: Netanyahu Faces Scandal, Palestinians a Crisis
Trump's Infrastructure Fantasy a Gift to His Donors
Netanyahu Could Fall for Corruption, Not War Crimes
Climate Change Costs Insurance Companies Billions, And Price is Rising,, The Real News Network, Real News Network, The Real News, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of Independent World Television inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and The Real News Network.

All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network. Click here for more

Problems with this site? Please let us know

Web Design, Web Development and Managed Hosting