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Chilliwack chapter greets Wild Salmon Caravan

Chilliwack, photo by Wendy Major

Photo by Wendy Major.

The Council of Canadians Chilliwack chapter greeted the arrival of the Wild Salmon Caravan in their community yesterday.

The Chilliwack Progress had reported, “The Wild Salmon Caravan will be stopping in Chilliwack as it follows the migratory route of salmon from the headwaters down to the ocean. Made up of First Nations and wild salmon advocates, the caravan making its way across B.C. this week, is both a spiritual and political effort, said Eddie Gardner, a Skwah elder who lives in Chilliwack, and one of the organizers of the caravan. The idea of the caravan is to ‘open people’s minds and hearts to the magnificent spirit of wild salmon’, Gardner said, and to ‘link coalitions and campaigns into a powerful collective force’.”

The caravan is travelling from Prince George to Vancouver to highlight major threats to wild salmon, including the Mount Polley mine disaster (in which 24 million cubic metres of water and mine tailings spilled into waterways including Quesnel Lake, a major sockeye salmon habitat), the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline to 890,000 barrels per day, the proposed 525,000 bpd Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, and open-pen fish farms in the ocean which expose wild salmon to parasites, disease, toxic chemicals and concentrated waste.

Gardner says, “This is a grassroots movement of First Nations and wild salmon protectors and everyone is invited to join in.”

Yesterday the caravan stopped at the site where Aevitas had proposed to build a toxic waste recycling plant just 200 metres from the Fraser River. The Chilliwack chapter and allies recently celebrated a win when the company decided to withdraw its plan for the hazardous waste facility given strong public opposition. Gardner notes, “We will celebrate the win regarding Aevitas and galvanize a broader coalition for other campaigns to protect the sacred waters and our wild salmon.”

And with the upcoming federal election expected on October 19, Gardner linked the caravan to that. He said, “This also caravan is sending a message to federal parties and candidates this spring asking them to explain what they are willing to do to protect the wild salmon and to provide for its resurgence.”

Further reading
Harper government approves major expansion of fish farms (January 2014 blog)