Photo: Direct Action workshop in Yarrow Community Centre
This past weekend, I took part in a workshop put on by the PIPE-UP Network, a group based in the Fraser Valley which has been opposing the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project. There is currently a pipeline running through their community, and the company wants to add another pipeline in order to triple the capacity of the pipeline system.
The event was taking place on traditional Sto:lo territory, and began with a welcome from Larry Commodore, a long-time activist in the region as well as stories from June Quipp about local Indigenous resistance. Elder and former Chief of Cheam First Nation shared stories about occupations and actions that they local Indigenous peoples have been active in practicing their sovereignty and stewarding the land.
Ananda Tan of the Global Anti-Incinerator Alliance and myself facilitated a Direct Action workshop and a Consensus Decision Making workshop for about 40 people from the Fraser Valley. These people have been organizing to oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline by tabling at events, organizing town halls, and providing resources and educational materials. This day of workshops, titled Going Forward, Leading Change: Skills Training for More Effective Community Engagement was one step towards building their skills and, ultimately, building public pressure to stop the Kinder Morgan expansion.
A major theme of the day, was that resistance and defending our communities can be inspiring, empowering, and effective. There was a wealth of knowledge in the room and there were plenty of opportunities for participants to talk about when they took action and what that felt like for their communities. People shared stories about blocking railroads and shutting down incinerators and refineries.
We also spoke about the blockades in Kent County, New Brunswick, where people are blocking trucks involved in seismic testing for hydraulic fracturing. We wanted to send our support and solidarity, as there was an understanding that those who are coming together to protect water and their communities should know that they are not alone.
For more information and updates, stay updated on the Council of Canadians blogspot. Staff in the Atlantic have been visiting the site and providing support as there have been numerous arrests, and requests for support and materials. Our Fredericton chapter is also demanding there be a public hearing on shale gas fracking in the region.
Other workshops that took place included Media and Messaging, Online Organizing, Engaging with the NEB process, Door to Door Canvassing, and Speaking with Elected Officials.