With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his federal Liberal cabinet in Nanaimo for a retreat, people are protesting the government’s proposed purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
The Wilderness Committee, Rise and Resist, Coast Protectors, Protect the Inlet, Stand and Sierra Club B.C. are gathered outside Vancouver Island Conference Centre, where Trudeau and Liberals are meeting.
Sheila Malcolmson, NDP Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP, spoke at the protest rally, railing against federal Liberal energy policies.
“The smoke in the air is such an emblem of the climate change crisis,” said Malcolmson. “That the federal Liberals have still failed to regulate any greenhouse gas emission reductions is all that people are talking about on the street. That the air from the forest fires is evidence that stems from climate change and it highlights a lack of action federally.”
The protesters call on the government to cancel the controversial project, according to a press release.
“We are [in] Nanaimo to make sure that Prime Minister Trudeau understands that his pipeline will never be built,” said Will George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation member and leader of Kwekwecnewtxw (the Watch House) on Burnaby Mountain, in the press release. “Our resistance and resolve have only got stronger since the federal buyout announcement. Trudeau will not get away with forcing a tar sands pipeline through unceded lands.”
Anti-pipeline protesters have converged on the Vancouver Island Conference Centre while Trudeau's cabinet retreat is taking place in Nanaimo this morning. #Nanaimo #Protest @NanaimoBulletin pic.twitter.com/NhAD4o46Mh
— Nanaimo Bulletin (@NanaimoBulletin) August 22, 2018
The group also said the increased tanker traffic that the pipeline could bring could have an impact on the southern resident orca population.
“With fires raging across British Columbia and beyond, we’re getting a preview of what climate change will bring to this part of the world,” said Torrance Coste, Wilderness Committee Vancouver Island campaigner, in the press release. “Forcing a tar sands pipeline through now without the consent of indigenous nations and local communities is completely unacceptable. The federal government needs to know that this coast won’t stand for it.”