A crowd – which swelled to more than 200 at its peak – gathered on the Courtenay courthouse lawn Monday afternoon to voice displeasure over the federal government’s purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Local organizer Peggy Zimmerman was encouraged by the turnout.
“The response we got, in such a short time, really speaks to the taxpayers’ concern,” she said.
The rally, which was originally slated to be held in front of the office of Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns, was moved to the courthouse lawn to accommodate the large turnout.
“When I saw that we were going to have such a great turnout, at the last minute, I moved it over here, so we wouldn’t disrupt traffic,” said Zimmerman. “I expected about 100 so I am very encouraged that it doubled that. There were some dynamite speakers who stepped forward at the last minute… I was so thankful for all their help.”
Johns could not be in attendance, but had a representative read a prepared statement at the rally.
“I wish I was there to rally with you, but I am in Ottawa, raising your voice in Parliament against this bad deal and bad decision by the government to purchase the Kinder Mountain pipeline,” the statement read, to an outburst of applause. “How can the government say they are fighting climate change when their actions say otherwise? Climate change leaders do not spend $4.5 billion on pipelines! We need a government that keeps promises made to Canadians and to the world to fight climate change.
“Thank you for your efforts to make your voices heard. Working together, we can make the government reconsider the Kinder Morgan pipeline purchase and come in line with our vision for Canada’s energy future.”
Zimmerman said the message is simple.
“As taxpayers, we do not want to buy out a Texas-based company for a pipeline that will outlive its usefulness, as we make this transition to fossil-free energy. The money can be used … in so many other, better ways.”
Similar rallies were held in more than 100 communities across the country Monday.