Union leader arrested over Keystone XL

OTTAWA, Sept. 26, 2011 /CNW/ - Several members and leaders of Canada's largest energy workers union were arrested today on Parliament Hill at a protest against the Keystone XL pipeline.

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union President Dave Coles and his Executive Assistant, Fred Wilson were among the first of about 100 arrests.

"It was an act of conscience because of the pivotal importance of Keystone XL to the Canadian economy and to the environment," says Coles, adds that protesters were treated with respect by the Ottawa police.

The XL pipeline is a jobs killer," says Coles, citing an Informetrica study that the increased export of Alberta bitumen by Keystone XL will cost the Canadian economy an estimated 40,500 potential direct and indirect jobs.

"Canadian jobs in upgrading and refining will literally go down the pipe to the U.S. with the 900,000 barrels of unrefined bitumen," he says. "Meanwhile, Canadian refineries are closing. We need an energy strategy in this country that deals with the issues of jobs, sustainability, and Canada's energy security, he says, noting that most Eastern Canada relies on imported foreign oil."

Coles says there is now a window of opportunity for the Harper government to reverse its decision on the controversial pipeline, because the building permit has expired.

"Today's protest was a wakeup call to the House of Commons, and I hope Prime Minister Harper is paying attention to the lengths citizens will go to get the message across that Keystone XL is wrongheaded."

SOURCE COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

For further information:

More information: Dave Coles at 613-299-5628

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COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION OF CANADA

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