A last-minute day of protest drew a group of Saanich Peninsula residents into Sidney Monday morning, protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline project and Ottawa’s panned purchase of the pipeline infrastructure.
Local organizer Jack Thornburgh said the organization Leadnow called for a national day of protest. Leanow credits itself as a collection of people and organizations that can spring into action quickly. Similar protests were set up for Victoria at the same time and later Monday afternoon in Langford — as well as in other locations across the country.
Thornburgh, who’s a North Saanich municipal councillor, said it was originally supposed to take place out front of the local MP’s office. However, with an MP (federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May) already in opposition to the pipeline — and the fact her office is Sidney is closed on Mondays — the group took the message, and petitions, down Beacon Avenue.
With drums and quickly-made signs, the group marched along Sidney’s main street for about a half-hour. Along the way, some approached people in the street to sign a petition against the federal Liberals’ plan to buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline infrastructure and to shore up the twinning project. That petition, said organizers, would be taken by MP May to Ottawa.
Thornburgh said the protest is a way of showing the outrage people hold about what he called a betrayal by the federal government.
“We feel this is a … terrible idea. Trudeau has talked so much about reconciliation … so, this is kind of a direct slap in the fact to Indigenous people who say they need their land protected.”
BC Green Party MLA Adam Olsen attended the protest in Sidney. He said action is growing around the province and across the country.
“People are very very concerned abut the coast line, “he said. “It’s a constituency issue, it’s a provincial issue.”
Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands, agreed he’s heard a lot of negative reaction to Ottawa’s plan to purchase the pipeline. He said the Liberals are trying to saddle B.C. with the entire problem.
“First Nations in this riding have said they do not support this … and when the Prime Minister stands up and says this is in the national interest, he’s essentially saying the interests of the First Nations people in my riding are not in the national interest and that’s something he’s going to have to rectify.”
Olsen said he thinks the protests will only grow throughout the summer.