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Victoria chapter protests Trudeau on climate and Indigenous rights, broken electoral reform promise

The Council of Canadians Victoria chapter protested for climate justice and Indigenous rights and against a broken promise on electoral reform during a visit to their city by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today.

Earlier today, Straight.com reported, “Trudeau has arrived on the West Coast for a visit to Victoria, with plans to visit Vancouver later. Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan started off the day with a jog from the Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt near Victoria. This afternoon, Trudeau will meet with Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, who will discuss opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.”

CBC has noted, “The Victoria mayor has been an outspoken opponent of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, citing an increased risk of spills with a six-fold increase in tanker traffic near Vancouver Island.”

Now, the Victoria Times Colonist reports, “The prime minister met with Helps at Victoria City Hall in the afternoon. Around 300 people showed up to meet the Prime Minister outside of city hall. Sue Andrews said several local groups hustled to have a presence at city hall when they heard Trudeau was coming to town. She was among many in the crowd angry about his support for the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

Victoria News adds, “The protesters were trying to draw attention to electoral reform promises and to oil and gas pipelines and tanker traffic.” To see their 24-second news clip of the crowd protesting Trudeau as he arrives, please click here.

Trudeau was in Alberta yesterday. The Calgary Herald reports, “The Conservatives are favoured to win two Calgary by-elections, but they are ‘all hat and no cattle’ in failing on pipeline approvals, Trudeau said as he rallied his local faithful.

Trudeau boasted, “For 10 years we had a government in Ottawa that spent all its time talking about how much it supported Alberta, how much it supported oil sands development, but were absolutely unable to get the pipelines that were needed built. Those are facts.”

The Council of Canadians opposes the 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and the 760,000 barrel per day Enbridge Line 3 pipeline, both of which Trudeau approved in November 2016.

We contend that approving these pipelines is inconsistent with addressing climate change, that they violate Indigenous rights (in that many nations have not given their free, prior and informed consent for the pipelines), and that they endanger waterways (the bitumen in the Trans Mountain pipeline would cross 1309 waterways in Alberta and British Columbia before being loaded onto tankers on the Pacific Ocean).

We also oppose the Site C dam on the Peace River in Treaty 8 territory in northeastern British Columbia. The Trudeau government issued Navigation Protection Act and Fisheries Act permits in the summer of 2016 for the construction of the dam without free, prior and informed consent.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip has stated, “Rather than respecting the treaty rights of Prophet River and West Moberly and the legal process by pausing or even slowing down site preparation and construction, the Trudeau government, like cowardly, thuggish thieves in the dark, quietly issued federal permits before a long weekend to allow for the acceleration of construction.”

The Site C dam would add 150,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to B.C.’s carbon footprint, the equivalent of putting 27,000 additional cars on the road each year. The Trans Mountain pipeline would produce an estimated 270 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over a 35-year period.

Council of Canadians chapters across the country have also been active on the issue of proportional representation. While Trudeau promised in the October 2015 election that he would introduce legislation in May 2017 to enact electoral reform in time for the October 2019 federal election, be abandoned that promise last month. On February 11, the Victoria, Nelson, Winnipeg, Northumberland, Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, Sudbury, Peterborough-Kawarthas, Quinte, Ottawa, Montreal, Fredericton, Saint John and St. John’s chapters took part in a cross-country day of action in support of electoral reform.

#StopKM #KeepThePeace #MakeEveryVoteCount