Oct 22, 2012 / 6:23 am
Critics of the Northern Gateway project are hoping at least a thousand people turn up for a big rally today at the B.C. legislature to protest the proposed pipeline.
The sit-in was organized by a coalition of groups that want to send a clear message to the provincial and federal governments about the plan to pipe crude from the Alberta oil sands to a tanker port in Kitimat.
Peter McHugh, spokesman for the group, Defend Our Coast, said some of the protesters are prepared to go to jail.
He said the protesters do not take lightly the prospect of civil disobedience, but they hope the protest is peaceful.
"We mean to deliver a message to Christy Clark and the federal government that British Columbians oppose these tar sands, tankers and pipelines," McHugh said.
He hopes the protest shows that opponents of the project run the gamut from grandmothers to business owners.
The Northern Gateway issue is a tipping point for the public, and everyday people are mobilizing against it, said Nikki Skuce of ForestEthics.
"People have thought about the Enbridge and Kinder-Morgan pipelines as a real key issue, whether it's to do with climate change, Harper bullying, cutting environmental legislation, First Nations rights and title, shipping raw resources and the jobs that go with it overseas," Skuce said.
"This is the first, the culmination, of building on what people have said when they said they'll do whatever it takes to try to stop these projects."
The Northern Gateway protests have the backing of Greenpeace, ForestEthics, the Council of Canadians and several First Nations, and have been endorsed by high-profile activists such as David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis. Celebrity supporters include filmmaker Michael Moore, singers Sarah Harmer and Dan Mangan, and actors Ellen Page, Mark Ruffalo and Darryl Hannah.
The provincial government is not in session, but protesters say it will get the message.
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