Rain and chilly weather did not prove to be a deterrent for thousands of residents who showed up to protest the Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipeline projects at MLA offices across B.C. last Wednesday.
The demonstrations, which were organized by the website Defendourcoast.ca, took place in 76 locations across 59 cities throughout the province, and served as the continuation of the rally held in Victoria on Oct. 22.
Jordan Roper, an environmental studies student from Langara, said frustration with the political system drove him to protest outside of Margaret MacDiarmid’s, Vancouver-Fairview Liberal MLA, office on West Broadway.
“As British Columbians, we are not being accurately represented whatsoever, and the federal government is absolutely ignoring everything we have to say,” he said.
“Harper’s more and more trying to push through these huge omnibus bills that keep gutting environmental protection laws.”
The protest lasted roughly half an hour and consisted of around 40 people.
Arie Ross, organizer of the Vancouver-Fairview demonstration and UBC undergraduate, said the issues of environmental protection will play a big role in provincial politics.
“We have to defend our coast and make all the MPs and MLAs aware that this is a very important issue for us,” she said. “This is going to be a voting issue for sure.”
Continued action needed to end the pipeline projects
Ross said more protests and demonstrations are necessary for the government to take decisive action – maybe even something on a massive scale.
“It’s going to take a lot of pushing and civil disobedience but it’s also going to take some leadership from our government,” she said.
The protests have very specific goals in mind when it comes to the change they demand, said Bradley Hughes, astronomy and physics instructor at Langara, who is also an environmental activist.
“What we want is the province to prevent the pipeline from being built, so until they say, ‘You cannot build this,’ and Enbridge says, ‘You’re right, we won’t,’ we’ll keep on demonstrating,” he said.
“The protest movement will stop when we win, and we haven’t won yet.”
The impacts that the oil sands have on climate change
Hughes said that refining natural resources greatly contribute to climate change and those impacts on the planet have only recently started to become noticeable.
“Let’s be clear about the nature of the catastrophe we’re facing. We saw the floods in the Fraser River this spring, which were not catastrophic, but that is only the beginning of what we’re going to see on a regular basis,” he said.
“Climate change means we’re going to see more floods at a higher level.”
Reported by Alex Skerdzhev
A video about the Defend Our Coast protests, this video was filmed in front of Vancouver-Fairview MLA, Margaret MacDiarmid’s Constituency Office on Oct. 24. Video by Sascha Porteous and Alex Skerdzhev