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Anti-pipeline protesters finish 75-km walk at Kinder Morgan in Burnaby PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow
Monday, 29 May 2017 19:35

By Denise Ryan Published on: May 28, 2017 | Last Updated: May 28, 2017 5:55 PM 

Hundreds of activists rally to finish a 75 kilometre march at the gates of Kinder Morgan during an Anti-Pipeline walk in Burnaby on Sunday.

Emotions ran high at the Walk 4 the Salish Sea, the culmination of an indigenous-led four-day, 75-kilometre walk to protest the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion on Sunday.

At the Kinder Morgan terminus gate in Burnaby, Cedar Parker-George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nations called out Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose government gave the project the green light in November of 2016, saying the people will remember that he backed the project. “This will not go through,” he said to cheers and drumming. “It will not happen, Justin.”

Several hundred protesters joined the walk on Sunday with a 10 kilometre march from Grandview Park, along Commercial Drive and Hastings. The group, led by indigenous elders and drummers, marched to the Kinder Morgan terminus before gathering at Westridge Park in an effort to raise awareness and funds for indigenous legal challenges to the pipeline.

Activists march along East Hastings street in Burnaby as they rally to finish a 75 kilometre march at the gates of Kinder Morgan during an Anti-Pipeline walk on Sunday. ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG

The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion will bring  980 kilometres of new pipe near the existing Trans Mountain pipeline that runs from the Alberta oilsands to Burnaby, and carry about 890,000 barrels a day of bitumen and dramatically increase tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet. 

“We come in peace but we are ready for battle,” said Audrey Siegl, a member of the Musqueam band, who co-emceed the event. “We lead with our medicines, and we lead with our prayers and our ceremony, but we know what ‘heads on stakes’ means.”

Although the federal government has approved the pipeline, Siegl said opponents are not going to back down. “There is a misbelief that it is up to the Kinder Morgan and the Canadian government as to whether this happens. It’s up to the people, and the people can stop it.”

At Westridge Park, 93-year-old Burnaby resident Elsie Dean, one of the founders of BROKE (Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion, said she is committed to stopping the pipeline expansion. “They are doubling the tank farms up on the side of the mountain, and the fire chief in Burnaby says if there is a fire, there’s nothing they can do. It would just blow up.”

 

Hundreds of activists rally to finish a 75 kilometre march at the gates of Kinder Morgan during an Anti-Pipeline walk on Sunday. ARLEN REDEKOP / PNG

Dean said the proposed expansion of tank farms in Burnaby poses a significant health and safety risk to residents should a fire or leak occurred in addition to concerns about tanker traffic in the Burrard Inlet.

“People would be dead, or they would be sick from the fumes.”

Dean said she is willing to “stand and be arrested” to stop the project. “We have to find obstacles to put in their way, and some of them will be our bodies.”

Stephen Collis, a professor of literature at SFU, co-emceed the event. Collis found himself at the centre of the Kinder Morgan storm in 2014 when hundreds of people occupied Burnaby mountain to stop Kinder Morgan contract crews from surveying land for the pipeline. Collis began to organize and became a media liaison for protesters, and for his troubles was named in a lawsuit by Kinder Morgan.

The suit was dropped, and although Collis said the legal action had “a chilling effect” he is pleased to see a rise in vocal opposition again. “There is a ton of public opposition to this, a lot of groups organizing against it. People are more and more pissed off, disappointed.”

Collis urged members of the public to get involved, and partner with indigenous nations to back legal challenges to the pipeline. “We need to get out and say, No, this is not going to happen

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 June 2017 22:31
 

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