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Emergency rally in Vancouver to #StopKM, pipeline construction scheduled to start Sept. 2017

Photo by AJ Klein.

The Council of Canadians is participating in an emergency rally in Vancouver tonight just hours after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his government’s approval of the 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

This export pipeline, to be built by Texas-based Kinder Morgan, would cross 1309 water courses in Alberta and British Columbia, produce between 20 to 26 megatonnes of carbon pollution a year, and result in about 400 supertankers a year departing from the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby.

The outreach for tonight’s rally stated, “Trudeau has approved the Kinder Morgan Pipeline. We’re meeting at the CBC (700 Hamilton, corner of West Georgia) downtown, near Library Square at 5:00pm. Bring your drums and your signs!” And Vancouver-based organizer AJ Klein has posted, “Everyone, let’s be together as we absorb the news we knew was coming. See you tonight. Bring your rage and your solidarity and your tears and all the rest. We’re in this together. This pipeline will never be built!”

CTV Vancouver, which is live-streaming the protest, reports, “Hundreds of British Columbians are gathering downtown Vancouver by Library Square to protest the federal government’s approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.”

Responding to Trudeau’s decision, the Canadian Press quotes Council of Canadians energy and climate justice campaigner Daniel Cayley-Daoust stating, “So-called sunny ways have turned out to be an illusion to cover up a Harper-like agenda in support of an ailing fossil fuel industry. Trudeau’s claim to climate leadership is no more.”

Reaction has been strong across the board.

Green Party leader Elizabeth May says, “If there are blockades as construction begins, I’m more than prepared to be there to block construction and be arrested and go to jail. This is not an issue where you compromise.” Vancouver city councillor Adriane Carr has now also said she’ll commit to civil disobedience to stop the pipeline.

And APTN reports, “‘We oppose this pipeline’, said Tsleil-Waututh Sacred Trust Initiative Manager Rueben George. ‘We’ll do what it takes, period, to stop it.’ George said Tsleil-Waututh is confident the constitution will protect their rights and title in court, but didn’t rule out direct action like what is unfolding in North Dakota where thousands of people have been protesting a the Dakota Access pipeline expansion.”

As well, in an open letter to Trudeau yesterday, Arthur Manuel wrote, “I am writing you as the Spokesperson of the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade (INET) and a member of the Secwepemc Nation in regard to the Kinder Morgan Expansion through Secwepemc Territory. [The pipeline would cross] through 518 km of our territory. I would like to remind you that this pipeline requires the consent of the Secwepemc people. We do not accept that the federal government can make this decision unilaterally and without the prior informed consent of the Secwepemc people as the rightful titleholders.”

Manuel adds, “It deeply concerns us that the Kinder Morgan Expansion would be along the North Thompson River Valley and would pass under the winding Thompson River at several points. Any leakage would immediately threaten the pacific salmon who spawn in the Thompson and Fraser River basins. It is not surprising that most Secwepemc people are in complete solidarity with the Water Protectors from Standing Rock North Dakota. Our waters are also sacred. The salmon and the rivers they inhabit have taken care of our people for centuries and we are obligated as Secwepemc people to protect the Thompson River system for future generations.”

The Vancouver Sun reports, “Kinder Morgan continues to say it plans to begin construction in September 2017 with a completion date slated for late 2019.”

The Council of Canadians has been opposing the Trans Mountain pipeline since August 2011 by participating in marches, protests and civil disobedience actions, supporting chapter activism, petitions and a court action, writing blogs, and organizing numerous public events and a six-community speaking tour.