Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is using his star power – and wallet – to fight TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project.

The former student leader is putting his money where his mouth is by donating $25,000 to an anti-pipeline citizen's group – and is challenging others to do the same.

When Nadeau-Dubois won the Governor General’s Literary Award for his book about the 2012 maple spring, he knew that’s how he wanted to spend his earnings.

“I decided to use it as an occasion to concretely help the citizens that are defending our collective interests today in Quebec,” he said.

He donated the money Sunday, and within 24 hours, the website had collected more than $244,000.

TransCanada's $12 billion west-east pipeline project would carry oil from Alberta to New Brunswick, with 700 kilometres of new pipeline through Quebec – and across the Outaouais and St. Lawrence Rivers.

“It's certain there will be a leak, there will be an accident. It's unavoidable. It's going to happen. So the question is, ‘Are we ready to take that risk knowing that TransCanada is promising only 130 jobs in Quebec?” he said.

TransCanada spokesperson Tim Duboyce said they work to manage every risk.

“Our safety record is impeccable,” said Duboyce. “If there is any doubt as to the integrity of a pipeline, if there is any indication through our sensor systems that there's an anomaly of some sort, we shut it down until we can figure out what's going on.”

TransCanada promises jobs over the seven years of construction and planning.

“Here in Quebec, it's 4000 direct and indirect jobs that would be attached to that work,” said Duboyce.

Nadeau-Dubois believes citizens need to be part of the environmental debate and risk assessment and the government has to resist pressure.

Meantime,TransCanada is hoping it will get a boost from Alberta Premier Jim Prentice, who is reportedly planning to visit Quebec next month to meet with Premier Philippe Couillard about the Energy East project, as opposition here in Quebec continues to grow.