PHOTOS: Rival protests highlight B.C.’s divide over pipeline project

Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline drew thousands to rally in support and against the project

While the pipeline dispute battle lines have been drawn in the political arena, British Columbians spent their Saturdays also making their stances heard – highlighting a clear divide within the province on the federally-approved Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Two demonstrations in the Lower Mainland – an anti-pipeline protest organized by Coast Salish members and a pro-pipeline rally organized by Resource Works – drew hundreds to the respective causes.

At the centre of the debates displayed Saturday: A $7.4-billion Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion set to nearly triple the flow of multipurpose oil from Alberta to B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approved the Kinder Morgan project in 2016, but the pipeline has since faced permit fights and challenges from the B.C. government.

READ MORE: Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

READ MORE: Notley threatens to broaden pipeline dispute with B.C.

And both sides Saturday argued economic, environmental and cultural factors are at stake.

In Burnaby, where Indigenous leaders led more than 4,000 people from Lake City Way SkyTrain to the two Trans Mountain terminals, signs were waved with messages reading “No consent, no pipeline,” and “Oil $pills are forever.”

Organizers of that protest, called Protect the Inlet, said they’re hoping their tactics delays Kinder Morgan’s tree-clearing work, which is set to be completed by March 26, as part of the initial ground-breaking for the pipeline.

Walking with her son Saturday, Cassandra Schodt, 28, said more fossil fuel development isn’t needed.

“There are better ways,” said the Port Coquitlam woman, adding that she worried about the ability to clean up oils that sink.

“We cannot sit by idly and let this project go with the way it would threaten our livelihood, our lives, our territories, our waters and our culture,” said Dustin Rivers, a Squamish Nation leader.

Kanahus Manuel, a Canadian activist who was arrested during protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, said Kinder Morgan does not have consent to run the pipeline through Secwepemc tribal territory.

“We never surrendered, ceded or released the land,” said Manuel, who is leading a group of activists building tiny homes that will be erected along the pipeline’s route in an attempt to assert indigenous sovereignty.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, political leaders and activists rallied with several hundred pipeline supporters – some who travelled from Alberta to take part.

There, those who gathered – calling themselves the “silent majority” – heard Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, Calgary Foothills MLA Prasad Panda speak on the 51 First Nation communities who have to come agreements of support with Kinder Morgan.

Bernard Hancock, born in North Vancouver but an employee at an oil patch in Alberta for the past two-and-a-half-years, told demonstrators that his job in the oil industry was the first to ever give him a sense of dignity.

READ MORE: Fort McMurray restaurant pulls B.C. wines over pipeline controversy

Q&A: Rally for Resources responds to B.C. anti-development protests

“I could save money, get ahead, make my parents proud and feel like I was making a difference, I was getting ahead. Oil and gas gave that to me,” he said.

Lyn Anglin, a scientist in the mining industry, said it’s important Canada continues to develop its natural resources.

“I’m a fan of renewable energy but we’re not there yet,” she said. “We can’t stop relying on oil and gas.”

Supporters say the expansion of the pipeline, which has operated since 1953, will give Canada access to new global markets, provide jobs and millions of dollars in economic benefits and can be done responsibly.

Political feud between Alberta and B.C. left to the courts: Heyman

Notley brought in a ban on B.C. wine in early February after B.C. Premier John Horgan’s government announced it would not allow increased oil shipments through the province until it had reviewed oil spill safety.

Notley lifted the ban on Feb. 22 after Horgan said his government would not block extra oil while it asked the courts to determine if B.C. has the authority to take the action it was planning.

There has been plenty of back and forth between Prime Minister Rachel Notley and Prime Minister John Horgan in recent week.

Notley has suggested broadening the dispute by threatening to turn off the oil taps, cutting off B.C. from the current Trans Mountain pipeline.

B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman responded to Notley by saying the province will continue to defend its interests when it comes to protecting the environment.

“I see no reason for the government of Alberta to take any action when all B.C. has been doing is standing up for our interests,” he said in Victoria.

“We’re proposing some regulations that are well within our jurisdiction. We’re determined to defend our environment, our economy and our coast line.”

Heyman said B.C. would expect the dispute to be settled in court.

NOTE: The story has been updated to correctly reflect Bernard Hancock’s employment.

With files from The Canadian Press


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Tour de Victoria rolls through the region Saturday

Expect traffic delays across Greater Victoria on Aug. 18

Fire chief stops driving lesson to fight fire

Sooke fire concerned over second suspicious bin fire this year

Victoria police seize over one kilo of fentanyl, guns and cars

Andrew Ritch is facing charges of drug trafficking and firearm offences

UPDATE: Missing Langford teen found safe

The 13-year-old Langford boy reported missing Wednesday has been found

Six Victoria firefighters head to B.C. Interior to combat wildfires

The Victoria Fire Department sent a water tender and fire truck to Fort St. James

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

B.C. program to educate parents reduces ‘shaken baby syndrome’ by 35%

Period of PURPLE Crying was launched nearly a decade ago

Most Read