A protester is removed from the conference centre where Montreal mayor Denis Coderre was scheduled to speak at the National Energy Board public hearings into the Energy East pipeline project, starting in Montreal in Monday, August 29, 2016. Coderre left without speaking. (John Kenney / MONTREAL GAZETTE)

A protester is removed from the conference centre where Montreal mayor Denis Coderre was scheduled to speak at the National Energy Board public hearings into the Energy East pipeline project, starting in Montreal in Monday, August 29, 2016. Coderre left without speaking. (John Kenney / MONTREAL GAZETTE)

BRIAN LEE CROWLEY AND SEN. DOUG BLACK

It’s a matter of grave national concern that the National Energy Board (NEB)’s Montreal hearings on the Energy East pipeline have had to be suspended indefinitely due to disruptive protests. A tiny number of protesters who dogmatically oppose resource development are using intimidation to achieve by the back door what they cannot achieve directly: shutting down pipeline development they don’t like.

Debate is the lifeblood of democracy. Elections, referenda, parliamentary votes, and other processes provide an opportunity for Canadians to persuade their fellow citizens of the rightness of their positions. May the best argument win.

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