While the Federal government rolls out its rubber stamp responses to the Federal Court of Appeals “quashing” of their original approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, the Climate Convergence Coalition has continued to organize public actions to expose their dishonest manoeuvring and keep the momentum going against the dirty Tar Sands mega-project.
On October 10, over 80 people met in front of Liberal Party MP Terry Beech's constituency office in Burnaby. Kinder Morgan's tank farm and marine loading facilities are part of Mr. Beech's constituency – and they were demanding he does more to stop the project which endangers the planet, and their neighbourhood very specifically. While the MP has said he was critical of the project, he's been especially silent since the government’s $4.5 billion bailout of the project. Organizers were there to demand he, “Do the Right Thing!'
Everyone rallied together outside of his office with signs and banners, waving to the busy rush hour traffic who honked as they went by. BROKE member Karl Perrin read letter or protest he had published in the Burnaby Now newspaper, and Climate Convergence organizer Thomas Davies read a letter written on behalf of the coalition stating,
“You and the Liberal Party were elected to a majority government on a stated commitment to Indigenous Rights and Climate Leadership. Continuing to do everything possible to get this climate disaster project built only shows that you are committed to neither. If you want to stand up for the people and planet, the tens of thousands of people who have actively been working to stop it will be with you. If you continue to try and ram it through, we will oppose you every step of the way. The choice is yours.” Organizers then marched inside and delivered the letter with news crews present.
In the end, Mr. Beech came out of his office to address the crowd, saying he had a new report on the Trans Mountain Pipeline on his website, but refusing to stay and discuss the issue in public. He and his staff were not happy to have the large presence outside his office as the Federal election campaign period nears.
Over 240 people have so far been arrested blocking Kinder Morgan's tank farm gates, and the court processes for all of them have been ongoing for months. People are facing higher, and higher fines and jail sentences for non-violently standing up against a project a Federal Court has ruled should not have been approved in the first place.
Many Climate Convergence organizers, including artist Marta Robertson-Smyth, have been arrested. Marta was part of an artist's action against the pipeline which generated a lot of media attention. The coalition decided to organize a public Court Support Action as Marta and Pia Massie, another well known local artist, were entering the court to begin their trial.
With a backdrop of supporters holding hand-painted children saying “Speak for Us,” both Pia and Marta addressed the crowd and the press with their motivations for taking action.
Undeterred by a torrential downpour, Marta emphasized, “As we blunder towards economic and ecological disaster our politicians continue to make devil’s bargains with international corporations that are putting the planet at risk... We each have the power to help fix things. And we can find a way. What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?”
It becomes more obvious every day that the Trudeau government has decided to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion – regardless of the environmental, financial or social costs. This puts them at odds with previous commitments they've made to respect both Indigenous rights and the environment. As well, puts them at odds with hundreds of thousands of people opposed to building the pipeline and doubling down on Tar Sands production. Climate Convergence Coalition will continue to expose and oppose this dangerous and unnecessary project and articulate our vision for a sustainable future.
No Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion!
Build Our Future, Not a Pipeline!
Follow Thomas on Twitter:@thomasdavies59
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