Two Nelsonites join thousands of protesters on grounds of B.C. Legislature at Defend Our Coast sit-in
The B.C. Legislature grounds were packed with thousands of people protesting Northern Gateway Pipeline project at the Defend Our Coast sit-in Monday in the provincial capital.
The well-organized sit-in brought together ordinary people, First Nations leaders as well as high-profile several celebrities with one cause — stop the Enbridge Pipeline.
“I was there because I agree with thousands of other people that we can’t have the tankers, we can’t have pipeline and we’ve got to shutdown the tar sands,” Keith Wiley of the Kootenay to Kitimat Caravan to Stop the Enbridge Pipeline told The Nelson Daily from Victoria.
“And it was just great to go and stand with thousands of other people believing the same thing.”
The Enbridge pipeline would carry diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands through northern B.C. to a tanker port in Kitimat in the westbound line.
The eastbound pipeline would import natural gas condensate back to Alberta.
Speakers included Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, Elizabeth May of the Green Party, BC Teacher’s Federation president Susan Lambert, Dave Coles Communication, Energy and Paperworkers along many First Nations reps.
Despite having the legislature locked up for the day, Wiley believes the coverage of the sit-in sends a strong message to the politicians.
“When there’s that many people coming out, the politicians have got to notice,” explained Wiley, joined at the Victoria protest by Tom Nixon.
“They’ve got to get the message that this pipeline and tanker idea is not going to fly.”
Wiley and Nixon were part of the Kootenay to Kitimat Caravan to Stop the Enbridge Pipeline that ventured from Nelson to the B.C. coastline.
The Caravan held public events in Kelowna, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Prince George, Fort St. James, Smithers, Terrace and Kitimat, and may have events in other centers on the route. Along the way Caravaners met local mayors, politicians and First Nations leaders.
Conservative estimations have the pipeline opening up Asian markets to Canadian oil, boosting Canada’s GDP by $270 billion over 30 years and generating $81 billion in direct and indirect revenues to the federal and provincial governments.
Of that, B.C. would receive about $6 billion, while Ottawa would receive about $36 billion and Alberta $32 billion.
Wiley said the push to shutdown the pipelines continues Wednesday at the City Hall courtyard in Nelson where protestors will join more than 60 other planned rallies throughout the province.
“I hope that people saw it on the news and see in Nelson they’ll have a chance to participate by coming out Wednesday,” said Wiley.
“It’s a great opportunity for the people in Nelson to really add to this message and keep the momentum going.”
The Stop the Pipeline rally begins at noon.
Speakers include Wiley, who will give a report from the Victoria Defend Our Coast rally.