Opponents of pipeline expansion in B.C. protested at Abbotsford West MLA Michael de Jong’s constituency office on Wednesday afternoon, as part of a province-wide “day of action” that saw similar protests in more than 60 communities.
Defend our Coast Day was planned to show opposition to tar sands, pipelines and increased tanker traffic, and the risks they pose to the environment. It followed Monday’s demonstration of 3,500 protesters at the provincial legislature, who rallied against the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
“The localities the pipeline passes through receive most of the risk but none of the benefit,” said Daniel Bryce, who ran in the federal election as the Green Party candidate, and gave a speech at de Jong’s office on George Ferguson Way.
Carrying a sign that read “No pipeline, no tankers, no tar sands, no Harper, no problem,” Jean Douglas-Wells joined in the public protest, and later signed up with local anti-pipeline group Pipe Up.
“We have to defend our coast, and we as Canadians have to stand up and say no,” she said.
About 43 people attended the event in Abbotsford, and Douglas-Wells predicted more would be at the next demonstration.
John Vissers is a member of the Pipe Up Network that is opposing the Kinder Morgan proposal to almost triple the capacity of its line that runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, passing through Abbotsford along the way. He also spoke against pipeline expansion.
Vissers said most of those attending the protest were people he has not seen at other environmental protests.
“This issue is bigger than the tree-hugger set – like SE2 was,” he said, in reference to the Sumas Energy 2 power plant that was rejected by the National Energy Board in 2004.
The provincial government has set out five conditions that must be met before the Enbridge Pipeline will be allowed to bring diluted bitumen from the tar sands of Alberta to Kitimat, including an increased share of the oil revenue.
“I’m concerned about those five conditions,” said Vissers. “Conditions are negotiable.”
“The government should come out and say, ‘This is not good for B.C., and we’re against it.’ “
Vissers predicted the pipeline matter will be a “huge election issue” in May 2013’s provincial plebiscite.
De Jong, the finance minister, was not in Abbotsford to greet the demonstrators.