Jean Swanson and other jailed protesters describe themselves as political prisoners

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      Five women remain defiant after being let out of jail early after violating a B.C. Supreme Court injunction.

      In a handwritten news release, Jean Swanson, Kathleen Flaherty, Sachiko C. Gyoba, Susan Lambert, and Heather Martin-McNab said they served a term behind bars "because we believe urgent action is required to avert the imminent crisis of climate change".

      'Yes, prison conditions are harsh, but we were political prisoners," they declared. "We are not criminals. We violated the injunction because we are so terribly aware that emissions from fossil fuels are destroying our climate, our planet and our children's future."

      They added that they had "tried to stop this reckless consultion of fossil fuels by demonstrating, making submissions to the NEB, electing governments on all levels which pledged to halt the KM expansion, to no avail".

      Swanson is a recipient of the Order of Canada. She's also a Vancouver council candidate with the Coalition of Progressive Electors.

      Lambert is a former president of the B.C. Teachers' Federation. Martin-McNab is an artist from Salt Spring Island. Flaherty is a playwright. Gyoba is a human-rights and environmental activist.

      They were being held in the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women after being given a seven-day sentence on August 16.

      The Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion will nearly triple shipments of diluted bitumen from Alberta to Burnaby to 890,000 barrels per day.

      It will also result in a nearly seven-fold increase in oil tankers in Burrard Inlet, with about 400 travelling through these waters every year after the project is completed.

      The Trudeau government has agreed to pay Kinder Morgan $4.5 billion for its existing pipeline infrastructure in Canada. In addition, the feds plan on spending many billions more to complete the expansion project.

      The five women were released from prison on a day that more than 500 wildfires were burning across the province—a spate of wildfires that many environmentalists have attributed to climate change caused by the steady increase in greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere.