VICTORIA (NEWS1130) – Thousands of people, young and old, have spent the day in the rain on the lawn of the Legislature in Victoria to protest the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project.
Overall, things were loud but peaceful and no arrests were made. The lousy weather didn’t damped anyone’s fighting spirits.
The road has been blocked by more than 230 metres of black cloth that were carried in on sticks. The length represents how long an oil tanker is and the black shows is symbolic of death and oil.
Tom, along with 50 other people, took a bus to Victoria to voice his concerns. “It’s real actions, so I wanted to come down here and maybe our government will get the message that this is not a good idea to pursue this.”
One person spent the day walking around carrying a picture of Prime Minister Stephen Harper pouring a jerrycan into a pristine lake. While another person was drawing black tears on the faces of protesters.
Mary was huddled under an umbrella and came all the way from Calgary to deliver her message to the provincial government. “It’s difficult in Alberta to speak out to radically because there are so many people employed in the oil industry and we’re lead to believe our prosperity depends on the oil industry.”
Eight-year-old Delilah explains why she doesn’t want the pipeline in BC. “If the pipeline has a leak it could poison our water and kill the animals.”
The little girl’s mother allowed Delilah and her two brothers to cut school so they could join the others on the lawn. She calls it a democracy lesson that can’t be taught in the classroom.”
Nikki Skuce of ForestEthics thinks the sit-in can send a powerful message to both the provincial and federal governments.
“I think it’s going to be a good mobilizer, having a lot of people out and being able to show that people are willing to take action,” she says. “It’s definitely going to be an election issue and we need to send a signal to Harper too that everything that they’re doing to try to ensure that these pipelines go through will backfire on them.”
Meanwhile, Lynn Perrin with the anti-pipeline group Pipe Up Against Enbridge isn’t expecting any arrests. “There’s training that happened Sunday, so people are taught how to do it properly, within the law.”
The protest was put together by Defend Our Coast alongside a variety of groups including unions, First Nations and environmental organizations.
“[This sit-in is] mainly to deliver a message to Christy Clark and the federal government that British Columbians oppose these tar sands and pipelines; and to really highlight the diversity of people that this issue affects,” explains Peter McHugh with Defend Our Coast.
Enbridge maintains the $6 billion pipeline will bring in a revenue of $81 billion over three decades. The Northern Gateway Pipeline project would ship roughly 550,000 barrels of bitumen per day from Alberta through to a port in Kitimat.