An enthusiastic group of around 20 environmental advocates gathered Friday at the constituency office of North Island–Powell River MP Rachel Blaney and North Island MLA Claire Trevena in solidarity with the rest of the protests happening across the country in opposition to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
“I’m a grandma,” says protest organizer Sulyn Cedar. “I have five grandchildren and I want to protect the water for them and everyone else’s children. This pipeline is a bad idea. In order to meet our climate change goals, we cannot continue to use fossil fuels. Period.”
The project being opposed, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, is expected to triple the capacity of the pipeline, which could see oil-carrying vessels in the Strait of Georgia go from eight per month to as many as 37. Over 50 protests were registered on leadnow.org scheduled for March 23 at various MP offices around the province, as well as at the site of the expansion project in Burnaby, where Green Party leader Elizabeth May was arrested.
“There’s a line,” says Cedar. “There’s a line that’s not even in the sand anymore. It’s in the fricken mud. We can’t cross it anymore. Yes, we need jobs for people, but we need good, sustainable jobs in renewable resources. To keep using these fossil fuels, and expanding their use, isn’t the right way to provide them.”
Cedar says the fact that projects like the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion and Site C Dam Project keep getting approved show us that we’re not taking the health of our planet seriously.
“It makes no sense to me that all these things are continuing when they are polluting and destroying our Earth,” Cedar says. “In terms of full-cost economics – because we don’t calculate the cost of pollution, we continue on with the status quo – It makes no sense. It makes no eco-logic.”
As part of the protest, Cedar and the other protesters delivered jars of water to Blaney’s office, “representing the fact that we have to take care of it and stand for what is right before it’s too late,” she says.
Blaney was not at the constituency office Friday, but those jars were received on her behalf by constituency assistant Lucas Schuller, who says he also delivered a statement on Blaney’s behalf in support of the protester’s efforts.
“The Kinder Morgan expansion was given federal approval through a review process that the Trudeau government acknowledged was flawed, yet have refused to fix,” the statement reads. “Our communities have legitimate environmental concerns that have not been addressed. Without social license, without meeting the commitments of the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous peoples, this project should not have been approved. We will continue to stand with those who fight for our coast.”