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      People and Planet Before Pipelines and Corporate Profit!
      Stop the TMX Pipeline!

      By Alison Bodine

      Along Highway 1 from Burnaby to Hope in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, there are indications of Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) project construction. Heavy machinery, stacks of green-coloured pipes, and rows of fencing covered in fabric meant to hide TMX’s environmental destruction line the busy road, crossing through neighbourhoods and vital ecosystems. With each day the Trudeau Liberal government pushes ahead with this disastrous project, the costs to taxpayers in Canada is growing.

      In 2018, the Trudeau government bought the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and the TMX project for $4.5 billion in public money. The estimated cost for TMX at the time was $7.4 billion, which has ballooned more than 70% to $21.4 billion, according to the Trans Mountain Crown corporation.

      By the end of 2023, taxpayers will be on the hook for at least $17 billion in TMX debt, as exposed in a report released in October 2022 by renowned economist Robyn Allen and West Coast Environmental Law. Part of the report reads:

      “Trans Mountain’s full financial picture is being hidden from Canadians. Dig into and piece together financial information on Trans Mountain from the Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV) and other sources, and a very different picture emerges than the one presented by the government. These sources tell us that Trans Mountain has not been profitable since Ottawa bought it; Trans Mountain is not commercially viable; and, this lack of profitability and commercial viability means more than $17 billion in debt owed to Canadians will not be repaid. Debt forgiveness is looming.”

      When the costs of living are rapidly rising in Canada, and public services such as healthcare, education and social housing are in dire need of funding, spending $17 billion on a dirty-oil sands pipeline is an outrage. Not to mention the destruction this pipeline will bring to crucial salmon and other wildlife habitats. If completed, TMX will also triple the amount of bitumen (incredibly toxic oil) transported from the Alberta tar sands to Burnaby and increase the number of oil tankers in Burrard inlet by seven times. This dramatically increases the risks of catastrophic oil spills and disastrous events at Burnaby Mountain and Sumas tank farms.

      Despite these horrible financial and environmental costs, the Trudeau Liberal government continues pushing the project.

      Stop the CGL Pipeline!

      The British Columbia provincial government also uses public money to subsidize climate-destroying oil and gas extraction. From tax breaks to lower electricity costs, the John Horgan NDP government and the Christie Clark Liberal government (2011-17) have thrown $6 billion at the CGL pipeline and the LNG Canada project that the pipeline will supply if it is completed.

      In early October, drilling for the Coastal GasLink (CGL) fracked gas pipeline began under the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) on Wet’suwet’en territory in Northern B.C. This drilling has already started despite the opposition of the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs and community members whose unceded land it crosses.

      As is explained on the website of the Gidimt’en Checkpoint, “Under ‘Anuc niwh’it’en (Wet’suwet’en law) all Hereditary Chiefs of the five clans of the Wet’suwet’en have unanimously opposed all pipeline proposals and have not provided free, prior, and informed consent to Coastal Gaslink to drill on unceded and surrendered Wet’suwet’en lands. They are trying to drill under the Wedzin Kwa river, the sacred headwaters that feeds all of Wet’suwet’en territory and gives life to our nation. The pipeline, spanning 670 kilometers, will transport fracked gas to the proposed LNG Canada processing plant, which is the largest single private sector infrastructure project and one of the largest energy investments in Canadian history.”

      For their peaceful protest against CGL, land defenders from the Wet’suwet’en Nation and their allies continue to face 24-hour surveillance, harassment, intimidation, and brutality from the RCMP and private security forces. Over 75 people have been arrested, including journalists. From 2019 to 2021, over $21.3 million has been spent on an RCMP force whose objective is to protect the CGL pipeline and ensure it gets built.

      Climate Convergence Organizes, Educates and Mobilizes in Defense of Mother Earth!

      In the face of the construction of the TMX and CGL pipelines and the growing climate and ecological crisis worldwide, Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver has continued to organize people across the Lower Mainland to fight climate justice.

      On Saturday, September 17, Protect The Planet, Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver, Mountain Protectors, and Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder-Morgan Expansion (BROKE) came together to organize a dynamic, united rally to protect Stoney Creek in Burnaby against the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline. Over 150 people came out to the high-energy and determined action, which drew attention to the ramping-up of TMX construction in the Stoney Creek neighbourhood of Burnaby. The action included a rally which featured: Tim Henry, from the Vuntut Gwitchin and Tlingit Nation, and Kate Tairyan, a senior lecturer at SFU, both of whom were part of the recent struggle to protect the Coquihalla River from TMX near Hope, B.C.; Anjali Appadurai, a leadership candidate for the BC NDP, Jennifer Nathan, a retired high school teacher and researcher against TMX, and Alison Bodine, a central organizer of Climate Convergence, among other insightful and energetic speakers. Dr. Tim Takaro and artist George Rammell also performed a dynamic theatre sketch calling the provincial B.C. government to use “every tool in the toolbox” to stop TMX, as they promised in the last election.

      TMX construction runs adjacent to Stoney Creek, a vital salmon spawning creek and the home of numerous other threatened and endangered animal species. Pipeline construction is a destructive process, and the heavy machinery, drills, bright lights, and massive disturbances to the soil pollute and destabilize the fragile ecosystem. For this reason, since the rally, the Stoney Creek has become an important gathering point for people fighting against the TMX pipeline. On October 21, a watchtower and protest camp were set up near the Stoney Creek construction site to monitor the pipeline construction and help inform residents about the destruction that TMX is bringing.

      On October 20, Climate Convergence organized a “No TMX and CGL Pipelines!” Intersection action at Lougheed Highway and Production Way in Burnaby, near the Production Way-University Skytrain Station. Over 25 people came together, despite the smoky skies caused by nearby wildfires, to hold large banners and signs against both the TMX and CGL pipelines. People passing by the busy transit station and people stuck in rush-hour traffic gave their support by taking a flyer or honking as they drove by. Local artist George Rammell also joined the action with his newest sculpture, which illustrates how the TMX and CGL pipelines and the Bay du Nord offshore oil drilling project in Atlantic Canada are projects that are contributing to irreversible, catastrophic climate change, and bringing our planet “over the tipping point.”

      In September, Car Free Days were an important way to talk to thousands of people about getting involved in the struggle against the CGL and TMX pipelines and for climate justice. Climate Convergence had an information table at the Commercial Drive festival on September 10 and the Main Street festival on September 18.The table was constantly busy at each festival for the full seven hours. People passing by stopped to sign a postcard against TMX addressed to Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment Minister Guilbeault, picked up newsletters and leaflets with more information, and often stayed for a conversation on how to get involved in fighting against the climate and ecological crisis.

      Throughout the early fall season, Climate Convergence has also supported actions in the Vancouver area organized by our allies in the struggle for climate justice. On September 23, Climate Convergence supported a #PeopleNotProfit march and block party organized by the youth-led climate justice organization the Sustainabiliteens.

      Climate Convergence organizers have also been supporting the Decolonial Solidarity campaign, inviting people to “adopt-a-branch,” and organizing regular tabling actions outside of branches of the RBC bank to bring attention to the demand that RBC divests from the CGL and TMX pipelines.

      We Fight, We Will Win!

      At every mobilization for climate justice, someone new hasn’t heard about the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline or isn’t aware that Canada is planning to produce more oil and gas in 2050 than they do today. People are eager to learn more and understand the devastating floods in Pakistan and the droughts in British Columbia are directly related to our warming planet.

      Now is not the time for despair. Yes, we are facing a climate and ecological crisis that threatens the future of humanity on this planet. Yes, people in developing countries around the world are already confronted with some of the most horrible impacts of extreme weather events and rising oceans.

      But the cause of this devastation is not a mystery. The capitalist system, which puts the interests of profit above all else and is fueled by the never ending exploitation of people and the planet, is responsible for the climate catastrophe. This is why we must join together to fight for system change, not climate change, to stop the climate and ecological crisis.

      The government of Canada will continue lining the pockets of their billionaire bosses in the oil and gas industry until we build a movement for climate justice and Indigenous rights that is capable of stopping them. We must work together to build a better, just, sustainable world that we know is possible.

      Climate Convergence meets twice a month on Zoom, and people interested in joining the struggle for climate justice are encouraged to join. Information about how to join meetings and upcoming actions and events can be found at www.climateconvergence.ca, on Instagram @climateconvergence or Facebook/Twitter @climate604.

      Climate Convergence demands money for housing, healthcare, education, and social justice! Not pipelines!

      People and Planet Before Profit and Pipelines!
      No TMX and CGL Pipelines!
      System Change, Not Climate Change!

      Follow Alison on Twitter: @Alisoncolette

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