Pipeline pipe up
Oct 24, 2012 / 3:04 pm
Growing opposition to the the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project found a platform in Kelowna Wednesday as demonstrators called attention to fears of oil spills and environmental devastation.
About 70 people gathered in front of Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson’s office in solidarity with thousands of others across the province calling for a halt to Enbridge Inc.’s controversial pipeline proposal that would bring oil from Alberta across northern BC to the coast.
“This is an issue that affects everyone in this country and the world,” said Alice Hooper, who took part in protest. “The oil is short-term gain, and they’re not seeing the bigger picture…. I have a grandchild coming in November, and I hope it has a healthy world to grow up in, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.”
Organizers of Defend Our Coast held rallies at Liberal and NDP MLA offices across the province Wednesday on the heel of Monday’s protest at the BC Legislature, which drew thousands of supporters.
The Enbridge-Kinder Morgan project would construct twin pipelines between Brudenhem, Alta. to Kitimat, where tankers would transport the oil by sea.
Opponents fear the project will devastate the environment and drastically increase the risk for oil spills along the BC coast.
The Alberta government has been pressing the issue with Victoria, touting the economic benefits.
“We have to do much more scrutiny, and our political system is not doing as good a job as it should,” said Wes Kmet, another protestor at Wednesday’s rally.
He says money and corporations are influencing governments at the provincial and federal level, shutting out the concerns of most Canadians.
“If our government gives up our provincial vote, it’s a scary thing,” said Taron Keim, who manned a table of petition sheets in front of Thomson’s office. Thomson was not present.
Defend Our Coast is also collecting signatures opposing the Canada-Chinese investment treaty (FIPPA), which the Tory government signed Sept. 9 without debate or a Parliamentary vote.
The sweeping investment treaty, yet to be ratified, would allow corporations to sue other firms or governments for financial damages—something Keim and other opponents of the pipeline feel will prevent Canadian governments from rejecting the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project as well as reducing its profit share should the project get approval.
The BC Union of Municipalities as well as 20 individual local governments have called for a tanker expansion ban.
“Still, in the face of this growing BC-wide consensus, our federal government is trying to ram the tar sands' pipelines through local opposition, and our provincial government is sitting on the fence and suggesting that BC’s coast can be bought,” the Defend Our Coast website states.
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