HIS 2PP3 (2023) — Harrison + Braden


In conclusion, through our research, we found that the Pipeline debate of 1956 is something that is significantly different from what we would have in the modern day. The emphasis on patriotism and financial politics was overwhelming, without leaving much consideration for anything else. 

Canadians were concerned about C.D. Howe and his government’s intention behind the pipeline, and this created political friction among Canadians. The main concern came from C.D Howe’s reliance on American gas companies for loans to complete the TransCanada pipeline, which led to heated debate within parliament and the public, who felt as though Howe and the liberals had betrayed their pledge to patriotism and sold out to American big business. 

Judith Robinson’s articles on the pipeline debate capture the political atmosphere at the time. Judith Robinson’s colourful writing style gives us great insight into the feelings of the public and her own. Within her articles, she uses language that encapsulates a feeling of frustration and betrayal that many Canadians would have likely felt, such as calling the pipeline project “phoney” and “alien” (5)

When comparing the reaction to the 1956 TransCanada pipeline debate to today, we noticed that there was no mention of environmental or indigenous considerations for individuals residing near the pipeline. When we think of a pipeline protest in a modern context, this is an overwhelming concern. Leakage is extremely common and can damage clean drinking water and soil, as illustrated in Sean Kheraj’s A History of Oil Spills on Long-Distance Pipelines in Canada.  Activists now, like the indigenous activists involved in the Wet’suwet’en conflict,  highlight immediate impacts like environmental destruction and displacement as their main concerns. Finance takes a back seat, unlike in 1956.