A protester holds a photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a representation of the globe covered in oil during a protest against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. The federal Liberal government is spending $4.5 billion to buy Trans Mountain and all of Kinder Morgan Canada’s core assets, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Tuesday as he unveiled the government’s long-awaited, big-budget strategy to save the plan to expand the oilsands pipeline. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

‘Betrayed’ Canadians could launch unprecedented protests over pipeline

The federal Liberal government is spending $4.5 billion to buy Trans Mountain and all of Kinder Morgan Canada’s core assets.

Outrage over the federal government’s announcement about buying the Trans Mountain pipeline to ensure it gets built could fuel unprecedented protests, says a prominent environmentalist who was at the forefront of British Columbia’s so-called War in the Woods in the 1990s.

Tzeporah Berman said the fight against the pipeline expansion is even bigger than those over logging in Clayoquot Sound.

Canadians are angry the government is shelling out $4.5 billion to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline rather than investing in clean energy after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate-change promises during the 2015 election and his later commitment to the Paris climate accord, she said.

“My experience is that people are motivated by betrayal, they’re motivated by a lack of fairness, they’re motivated by a sense of shared common purpose and outrage. In this case we have all of that,” said Berman, who was cleared of aiding and abetting protesters at the Clayoquot blockade and is now an adjunct professor of environmental studies at York University in Toronto.

Berman said the Liberal government “made a very big mistake” by backing Kinder Morgan’s project and alienating voters to create “a perfect storm” that would prompt people to take action.

“I think a lot of us who knocked on doors for the Trudeau government really believed them when they said they were going to bring evidence-based analysis and science and democratic process back to pipeline reviews.”

Related: Trans Mountain pipeline: The economics of oil

Related: Trans Mountain pipeline: Is it worth the risk?

Berman is a director of Stand.earth, one of the groups that organized an anti-pipeline protest in Vancouver on Tuesday after Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the government’s plans for the pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C. Another protest is planned in Victoria on Thursday.

“My expectation is that the outrage is going to grow and we’re not just going it see it here in British Columbia but we’re going to see it nationally and internationally,” she said, adding social media makes it possible for activists to connect in ways that didn’t exist at the height of anti-logging protests in 1993.

“We didn’t have email, we didn’t have cellphones. It was a remote location that took most people five to seven hours to get through. This is a pipeline project that runs through urban centres,” she said of Trans Mountain.

Khelsilem, a Squamish Nation council member who goes by his first name, said the federal government’s decision to pursue completion of the pipeline expansion threatens Indigenous communities if there was a spill of bitumen from increased tanker traffic in B.C. waters.

“Trudeau had promised during the election that he would create a new environmental process that would protect Indigenous rights and that the Kinder Morgan project would be included and sent back to be done through the new process, and on both those counts he’s failed completely,” he said.

Along with multiple legal challenges involving the pipeline, the Squamish Nation and five other First Nations are involved in a Federal Court of Appeal case that targets Ottawa’s approval of the project.

“The protesters and the opposition, and the civil disobedience is probably going to increase,” Khelsilem said.

“Our mandate from our people is to continue to defend our rights as a people and to protect our territory, not just for us but for future generations. We’re going to continue to stand with our allies that support our Indigenous rights and change the story of Canada, that Canada is no longer a country that disregards Indigenous rights.”

Related: Trans Mountain pipeline: How we got here

Related: First Nations remain divided

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Gallery: Project Heavy Duty inspires students into it’s 32nd year

The event is a collaboration between SD91 and industry in and around Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

Madison Scott’s mother hosts event to keep search for her missing daughter alive

Eight years ago, the Vanderhoof teenager disappeared, and the RCMP continue to chase leads

Cullen demands action on Ecstall River

Failing to penalize parties involved undermines all salmon conservation efforts, MP says

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

B.C. residential school survivor’s indomitable human spirit centre of school play

Terrace theatre company plans to revive Nisga’a leader Larry Guno’s Bunk #7 next year

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Most Read