Let's be frank, climate change is real. We, as a country, have to do more to fight climate change. That being said climate change is a red herring in this discussion. Why? Because up to 80 per cent of the emissions associated with fossil fuels are generated in their combustion. Pipelines represent a negligible part of that equation.
The Alberta government clearly has a reason for wanting to facilitate the export of more oil and gas via the proposed TransCanada Energy East and Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipelines. But the NDP committed in its election platform to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to "work with Alberta Indigenous Peoples to build a relationship of trust and ensure respectful consultation."
Opinions run hot around pipeline conflicts, and more is ahead of us. There are many arguments for and against civil protest, but one of the most persistent is that these people are hypocrites. That if you drive a car, take a plane, use hairspray, or otherwise consume fossil fuels in any way, you have no right to stand up. This comparison is troubling for a number of reasons.