Vancouver protesters rally, vow to continue pipeline fight
'It boggles the mind that they could think this is a good move for Canada'
Indigenous and environmental groups organized a flash rally in Vancouver Tuesday evening in reaction to the announcement the federal government is buying out the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Hundreds of First Nations groups, environmentalists and other concerned residents gathered on the grounds of Science World to protest the federal government's plan.
Will George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, has been acting as guardian of Burnaby Mountain's Watch House, which was built earlier this year as a protest structure.
George called the decision hurtful and a letdown.
"This concerns a lot of people so we are absolutely going to ramp up our demonstrations and our movement," George said.
Many of the speakers thanked attendees for coming out and continuing the fight.
Longtime pipeline opponent and Burnaby MP Kennedy Stewart — who is running for mayor of Vancouver as an independent — invoked the late NDP leader Jack Layton in his speech, saying he would fight the pipeline till the very end.
"Today we actually took out Kinder Morgan. Kinder Morgan put their tail between their legs and they ran back to Texas," Stewart said.
"The only opponent we have left is Justin Trudeau. He's the only one that's pushing this pipeline through. You think we can take him out?"
There are a number of lawsuits against the pipeline expansion project, something that gives some opponents like Rueben George, also from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, hope.
"We're already suing Canada. You know, we've got court cases ... in the Federal Court of Appeal with allies and different nations and each one had about five arguments in total. They have to win them all. We only have to win one or two to stop this, and I believe in the Canadian constitution protecting our Indigenous rights," George said.
Environmental groups say the Canadian government's pipeline buyout is reckless and raises questions about the country's commitment to battling climate change.
"We are furious. I was in shock this morning, I didn't think the government was actually this stupid to buy a pipeline that has 17 court cases against it," said Peter McCartney from the Wilderness Committee.
"This is now Canadian taxpayer money that is putting our coast here at risk of an oil spill. It's just...it boggles the mind that they could think this is a good move for Canada."
Opponents say they are going to ramp up efforts to stop the pipeline from being built.
Another protest is planned for Saturday morning on Burnaby Mountain.