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

Looking for crafters for the Gnarly Little Spring Craft Fair in Courtenay

Calling all youth crafters and entrepreneurs! The Gnarly Little Spring Craft Fair… Continue reading

Courtenay supports church renos, lunch program

Council approves $25,000 request from St. George’s United

The Hub Organ Trio coming to Courtenay

The Georgia Straight Jazz Society features an amazing trio at the Avalanche… Continue reading

YANA a blessing for Michaela, Harley, and Baby Violet

Comox Valley association a pillar of the community

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Kickers beat Meralomas in quarter-final

The Comox Valley Kickers women’s rugby team defeated the Vancouver Meralomas 56-5… Continue reading

Most Read