British Columbia

Trans Mountain protesters decry 'Justin Trudeau memorial pipeline' in Burnaby, B.C.

Federal government announced it would spend $4.5 billion to buy controversial pipeline

June 03, 2018

New signs were placed on the gates of Trans Mountain work site in Burnaby on June 2, 2018 asking opponents of the pipeline expansion to directly contact Canada's prime minister. (CBC)

Around 100 people protested at a Trans Mountain work site against the pipeline's expansion on Saturday in Burnaby, B.C., and while there were no arrests, there was a new name.

Protesters there say they are now calling the project the "Justin Trudeau memorial pipeline."

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"I think Justin Trudeau needs to be held accountable for his actions ... since he has bought the pipeline with government money, taxpayer money," said Lisa Wu, who likes the new name.

Around 100 people protested the Trans Mountain expansion project at a work site in Burnaby on June 2, 2018. (CBC)

The federal government announced earlier this week that it would spend $4.5 billion to buy the pipeline and related infrastructure to ensure the expansion is completed.

At the time, Finance Minister Bill Morneau called the purchase an investment in Canada's future. He says it will preserve jobs, reassure investors and get Canada's resources to world markets.

The original Trans Mountain pipeline was built in 1953. The expansion would allow the system to send 890,000 barrels of different types of oil products from Edmonton to Burnaby per day.

Its current capacity is 300,000 barrels per day.

A protester in Burnaby on June 2, 2018 displays a new Pipeline Sold! sign, which asks opponents of the Trans Mountain pipeline to contact Justin Trudeau directly. (CBC)

While reaction to the announcement has been split across the country, those against the move in B.C. say it has only galvanized their opposition to it.

Activist Tzeporah Berman says, up until now, people protesting were doing so mostly because of Indigenous rights or environmental concerns.

Now she says there is a third reason.

Activist Tzeporah Berman says opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline in B.C. will increase now that the federal government has used tax payer dollars to purchase it. (CBC)

"People feel betrayed by this government and so opposition is growing and we're going to stop this pipeline," she said.

Still, there wasn't much of an increase of protesters in Burnaby on Saturday.

There was a similar protest in Whistler where ministers from G7 countries were meeting in advance of a G7 summit in Quebec.

A group of people protested the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in Whistler on Saturday, June 2, 2018. (Manjula Dufresne)

What was new was the name, posters stuck to the fence and signs at the work site which read on a red backdrop: "Pipeline Sold! For questions and concerns contact: Justin Trudeau."

The posters include an email and a phone number.

"We're asking people to call Justin Trudeau ... we own it now, we're all taxpayers," said protester Hayley Zacks.

On Friday, a B.C. judge agreed to allow Kinder Morgan to expand the powers of its injunction to keep people from disrupting work at sites in Burnaby.

No one was arrested on Saturday under new rules that do away with a 10-minute warning from RCMP before they make arrests of people standing within a five-metre buffer zone.

Protesters say that in coming weeks, as work resumes, that will change.

"No means no. We're going to do whatever it takes to stop this pipeline," said Cedar George-Parker with the Tsleil-Waututh Nation.

With files from Deborah Goble.

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