British Columbia·Exclusive

Kinder Morgan offers Lesslie Askin access to photograph its storage tanks

An energy company whose security guards reported a 71-year-old photographer to police after she was spotted taking photos of oil storage tanks now says it will give the photographer access to its site.

Grandmother, 71, shocked when her research for upcoming NEB hearing triggered terror investigation

Lesslie Askin, who is 71, wants to know why police came knocking on her door to question her about why she was taking photographs of old oil storage tanks on the south side of Burnaby Mountain. She says she was taking the photos for an upcoming National Energy Board hearing, and she is upset her name is now in a terror threat-tracking database. (CBC)

An energy company whose security guards reported a 71-year-old photographer to police after she was spotted taking photos of oil storage tanks now says it will give the woman access to its site.

After CBC Investigates aired the story of Lesslie Askin, who was shocked when officers with the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team came knocking on her door in August, Kinder Morgan Canada said she would be welcomed back to its Burnaby facility.

Kinder Morgan told CBC News on Friday that it is now offering to let the 71-year-old grandmother, who is putting together a presentation for a National Energy Board hearing, come past the fence and onto its Burnaby, B.C., storage terminal.

Askin is one of hundreds of opponents who applied to speak at the hearing about concerns related to its proposed $5.4-billion expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline between the Edmonton area and the Lower Mainland's Burrard Inlet.

She told CBC News that she was doing research for her presentation on Aug. 3, taking photographs from outside fenced areas of some of the storage tanks at the base of Burnaby Mountain, when Kinder Morgan's security reported her to police.

She told CBC News she was concerned, irritated and dismayed that her name was now in a national terror-threat police database.

MP demands government apology

Burnaby-Douglas New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart stood up in the House of Commons Friday to demand that the Harper government apologize to Askin.

Burnaby-South NDP MP Kennedy Stewart has been working on bringing e-petitions to Parliament since 2011. (CBC)

"Ms. Askin is rightfully concerned that there is now a permanent record of Kinder Morgan's 'incident report' on the RCMP database," he said. "It is unacceptable that a law-abiding citizen participating in a public hearing process was visited by two officers on the whim of a Kinder Morgan employee."

Stewart said he is interested in hearing from others who may have been subject to the same type of visit or police monitoring.

With files from the CBC's Natalie Clancy


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