The mayor of Burnaby has said he is prepared to get arrested and see his career in politics come to an end if that’s what it takes to stop a proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.
Speaking at a May 20 community meeting, Derek Corrigan told a full house he would do whatever it takes to prevent the project from going ahead.
“We’re going to ride this thing through to the very end, because if we’re not going to win it here, we’re going to win it in the courts, and we’re going to continue to fight,” he said as reported by the Burnaby Now’s Jennifer Moreau. “If we go to court, we’re going to go to court with clean hands and ensure we’ve done everything humanly possible before I stand with you and probably 10,000 other people and get arrested to stop this.
“That’s a hard thing to promise for a lawyer and a mayor,” Corrigan continued. “It will probably be the end of my career. But if I end my career on that note, it will be something that I’m very proud of, that I stood my ground.”
Corrigan was also critical of the National Energy Board (NEB), the federal body conducting a review of the project. (One day earlier, an expert intervener for the NEB withdrew from the Trans Mountain review process with a critique that described it as “a parochial board steeped in Calgary petro culture, run by corporate interests”.)
The proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline would triple the current amount of diluted bitumen transported from the Alberta tar sands to the Lower Mainland, increasing the number of oil tankers moving through Metro Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet from 60 to 400 ships per year.
The City of Vancouver and its mayor, Gregor Robertson, have also staked out positions against the project, as has the board of Metro Vancouver.
The route Kinder Morgan has planned for a new section of pipeline would tunnel through Burnaby Mountain. That prospect has turned the hilltop, which serves as the home of Simon Fraser University’s main campus, into a rallying point for opponents of the project.
In November 2014, a large demonstration gathered on Burnaby Mountain in an attempt to block Kinder Morgan from conducting survey work there. At the time, Corrigan told CBC News the city was attempting to stop the pipeline’s construction in the courts.
“I don't want people to be arrested. I think that that is a last resort, and we're still in the middle of a process that is going to take, probably, years to settle out,” Corrigan said on November 25. “We have taken every action we had within the legal remedies available to us in order to stop the project from proceeding….I still have faith in the courts.”