Pipeline and oil tanker opponents gear up for rally in Victoria
Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation is preparing to speak out against pipeline expansion and increased tanker traffic at an upcoming demonstration in Victoria.
“As a Tsleil-Waututh, we have a sacred connection to the land. I was born and raised to have that,” George told the Straight by phone today (October 19).
“Our ceremonies come from our land. Our teachings come from our land. We have a sacred relationship with our land, and there’s no price that you could put on the sacred.”
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation is based in North Vancouver next to Burrard Inlet, a waterway that could see increased oil-tanker traffic if Kinder Morgan expands its Trans Mountain pipeline.
Fear about the risk of oil spills has roused widespread opposition to the Kinder Morgan plan and to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast.
“The pipelines and tankers going through our territory are too big of a risk to take, so that’s why we say ‘no,’” George said.
George is among the First Nations leaders, union officials, and activists scheduled to speak at the demonstration outside the provincial legislature in Victoria on October 22.
The rally is intended to pressure the B.C. government and federal government to oppose major oil-pipeline projects from Alberta to the B.C. coast.
Hollywood celebrities including Mark Ruffalo, Ellen Page, Daryl Hannah, and Michael Moore have endorsed the planned protest.
It has also received support from big B.C. names including Pamela Anderson, David Suzuki, and Dan Mangan.
“Together we must tell the B.C. and Federal government that the protection of the west coast is not up for discussion and Canada’s coast is not for sale!” reads a statement on the Defend Our Coast website.
“If a record number of us participate in this historic act of peaceful civil disobedience we can make a difference.”
Protest organizers say the rally will share the same sentiment as large-scale demonstrations held last year on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and at the White House in Washington, D.C.
However, organizers have warned that people who take part in the “peaceful sit-in style action” could face possible arrest.