Organizers say they’ve planned for thousands to assemble at Sunset Beach tomorrow (May 10) to protest the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
In a telephone interview, the Wilderness Committee’s Eoin Madden noted that the last gathering like this one, held in November 2013, attracted an estimated 5,000 people, overflowing the space near Science World that was allotted for the event.
“Hence the reason for us to move on to Sunset Beach,” he added. “We’re hoping for thousands.”
Ben West, tar-sands campaign director for ForestEthics Advocacy, described the event as the beginning of a final push to stop the Enbridge project.
“This is the last rally before Stephen Harper makes what he thinks is a final decision on the Enbridge pipeline,” said. “We’re definitely down to the wire.”
The Northern Gateway pipeline is proposed to carry 525,000 barrels of heavy-crude oil per day from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta to a port at Kitimat, from where it will be shipped overseas.
West maintained that the majority of British Columbians oppose Northern Gateway. Last month, Kitimat residents—who stand to benefit the most among British Columbians—voted in a nonbinding plebiscite against the project.
“The message that we’re trying to get out there is that Harper might think this is the final decision, but ultimately, we’re not going to let this thing go forward no matter what he decides,” West said. “Pipelines are not inevitable. There are better choices and ways that we can reduce our consumption of fossil fuels.”
Speakers scheduled for the event include Madden and West, plus Vancouver-West End MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert, Vancouver city councillor Andrea Reimer, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation's Carleen Thomas, Burnaby Mayor Derrick Corrigan, Kids for Climate Action's Kate Hodgson, and quite a few others. (Subject to change.)
Madden said people should expect a festive atmosphere with an “artistic feel”. In addition to speakers, there’s going to be creative activities for adults and children alike.
He emphasized that the protest is going to be about more than opposition to a pipeline.
“We’re saying that climate change is not for us, and that we can generate long-term sustainable jobs in a different way,” Madden said. “We’re going to generate a strong, stable B.C. But first we’ve got to kick out the folks that want to trash the place.”