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Climate justice campaigner at occupation of environment minister’s office

Council of Canadians climate justice campaigner Daniel Cayley-Daoust and allies are now occupying the Ottawa constituency office of federal environment and climate change minister Catherine McKenna. They are calling on her to be a climate leader and reject the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Texas-based Kinder Morgan is proposing to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline from northern Alberta to the British Columbia coast to increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. The pipeline would carry diluted bitumen from the tar sands through Jasper National Park, into the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, across the Vedder Fan aquifer and the municipality of Chilliwack’s protected groundwater zone, then across the Fraser River and to the Westridge Marine Terminal at Burrard Inlet for export on an estimated 400 supertankers a year.

The Liberal government is widely expected to approve this pipeline by December 19.

Yesterday, CBC reported, “A dozen people occupied the Winnipeg constituency office of Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr on Thursday. Protesters held signs and chanted their message in hopes to gain the minister’s attention. The sit-in style protest called for the Winnipeg South Centre MP to reject the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. The pipeline carries crude oil and refined products from Alberta to the west coast. The group says in order to meet promises set out in the Paris climate agreement with the United Nations, the federal government must vote ‘no’ to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.”

The office of Indigenous and Northern Affairs minister Carolyn Bennett was also occupied yesterday. 350.org posted, “The Toronto sit-in forced a response from Bennett. This video shows Bennett’s unsatisfying response, dodging the question about whether or not she’d oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The group made it clear this isn’t the end, and that she can expect more pressure as a decision on this pipeline looms.”

And this morning, The Globe and Mail reports, “The federal government will not require consent from First Nations as it makes a decision on whether to approve Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, despite endorsing a UN declaration earlier this year that includes the principle of ‘free, prior and informed consent’, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said Thursday. Mr. Carr released a report from an advisory panel that noted many First Nations and Métis communities in British Columbia feel they have not been adequately consulted on the $6.8-billion expansion and insist they have the right to veto resource projects on their traditional territory.”

Last month, at the time of the one-year anniversary of the election of the Liberals to power, McKenna said, “[I’m] as much an economic minister as I am an environment minister” and admitted, “I’m going to lose some people on the way.” And Carr stated, “We’re not going to make everybody happy. …People say, ’Leave the oil in the ground’… Our view is we use the wealth of the old economy to finance the new energy economy.”

The Council of Canadians stands with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, whose traditional territory includes the land and waters surrounding the Burrard Inlet, in their opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline. We also endorse the Leap Manifesto call for respecting the inherent rights and title of the original caretakers of this land, a 100 per cent clean energy economy by 2050, and for no new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future.

In recent months, the federal government approved the TransCanada NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd fracked gas pipeline that is used to fuel tar sands operations, as well as the Woodfibre and the Petronas Pacific NorthWest Liquefied Natural Gas projects.