British Columbia

Kinder Morgan goes to court to stop pipeline protesters

Kinder Morgan protesters came down from Burnaby Mountain Friday and took their demonstration to the steps of the Law Courts in downtown Vancouver.

Lawyers for Trans Mountain pipeline seek injunction and file lawsuit claiming millions in lost revenue

Protesters gather outside a B.C. Supreme Court hearing in Vancouver Friday determined to fight a Kinder Morgan injunction demanding they stop impeding survey work on Burnaby Mountain. (CBC)

Kinder Morgan protesters came down from Burnaby Mountain Friday and took their demonstration to the steps of the Law Courts in downtown Vancouver.

They're furious that Kinder Morgan is not only seeking an injunction but has also filed a lawsuit claiming millions of dollars in damages from lost revenue.

SFU English professor Stephen Collis is one of those named as a defendant in the court action. He says he was sitting in his office Thursday afternoon when he got a package with a 1,000-page lawsuit inside telling him he had to be in court Friday.

Protesters calling themselves The Caretakers have set up camp on Burnaby Mountain in B.C., in opposition to Kinder Morgan plans to bore through the municipal park to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline. (CBC)

"They're accusing us of trespassing on city parkland which is a little absurd and bizarre to get my head around. It's a strange thing that this U.S. based corporation can tell citizens in Canada you're trespassing in a park," said Collis.

"I feel a kind of moral outrage boiling up after the initial shock that here in Canada we can be deprived of our constitutional rights, our democratic rights, our freedom to assemble, to raise our voices."

Trans Mountain says it's losing millions

Trans Mountain is asking a B.C. Supreme Court judge to stop the protesters from blocking survey work on a new pipeline route on Burnaby Mountain. The company is also claiming millions in lost revenue for each month the pipeline project is delayed.

Trans Mountain's lawyer Bill Kaplan says protesters knew this would happen.

"They were aware the reaction of Trans Mountain would be to seek injunctive proceedings," he said.

The National Energy Board ruled last week that the City of Burnaby, which has been opposing Trans Mountain's survey work, cannot stop the company's activities because the geotechnical work is needed by the board so it can make recommendations to the federal government about whether the project should proceed.

Burnaby is appealing that decision.

Those against the pipeline expansion say the lawsuit against protesters is a poor tactic.

"I think that Kinder Morgan now that they're seeking damages against them, I think it's a huge tactic of bullying people,"  said protester Shirley Samples.

During Friday's hearing, the protesters asked for more time, saying they had been blindsided by the lawsuit.

The judge agreed to push the matter to Wednesday, Nov. 5 for a three-day hearing.

With files from Bal Brach


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