Sierra Club BC’s Campaigns Director delivers speech at pipeline buyout rally in Victoria
Since Kinder Morgan’s announcement on April 9th to halt all “non-essential activities and related spending” on the Trans Mountain pipeline and oil tankers project, we have been on a wild ride.
May 31st became the highly anticipated deadline for the federal government to provide Kinder Morgan with certainty that the pipeline could be built without further delays or additional costs to shareholders. The alternative? Kinder Morgan walks away.
The reality? Kinder Morgan did walk away, but with a cheque for $4.5 billion after selling their leaky, 60 year old pipeline (which they purchased for $550 million in 2007) to the federal government. Kinder Morgan’s top executives walked away with a $1.5 million bonus each, and Canadian taxpayers are left to foot the bill. What a deal.
Trudeau says his cabinet decided to use $4.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to buy Kinder Morgan’s pipeline after the company told his government that the project was a “risky” investment. So now we own it. Makes sense right?
Canadians are financially responsible not just for a pipeline and tankers project many opposed in the first place, but for the costs of cleaning it up when an oil spill happens…and this pipeline has a history of spills.
Folks all across Canada are outraged -and it’s gaining international attention. Trudeau has betrayed the public’s trust by breaking multiple campaign promises. What of his commitments to reconciliation? His international commitments to address climate change? His promise to stop government support for fossil fuels?
Trudeau is frequently quoted saying: “it’s the communities that grant permission — the government can only grant permits.” But there is a gaping lack of permission from communities who oppose this pipeline and tanker project, as it threatens the vitality of BC’s coast, its communities, endangered species such as the southern resident orca whales, and tramples Indigenous rights and title.
In response to the $4.5 billion announcement, crowds gathered at the Inner Harbour on Lkwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories on May 31st to protest the federal government’s pipeline and oil tanker buyout.
Sierra Club BC’s Caitlyn Vernon had the opportunity to speak, and addressed the crowd with an animated and informative speech, which you can both watch and read below!
We would like to extend our gratitude to all of the organizers, speakers, Elders, and community members who came out to voice their opposition and remind Trudeau that this pipeline will not be built.
We would also like to thank everyone who participated in the National Day of Action against the buyout on June 4th. United, we are stronger, and we aren’t backing down.
No means no.
Sierra Club BC's Caitlyn Vernon Speaks at Victoria Rally to Stop the Kinder Morgan Buyout
Posted by Sierra Club BC on Thursday, May 31, 2018
What a crowd. It seems that prime minister Trudeau may have underestimated the degree to which we love this coast and will protect it!
Let’s talk about what the heck is going on? This week there have been tears. And anger.
And also this: We sent Kinder Morgan back to Texas! We were too much for them, so Kinder Morgan wanted out. They knew we were going to stop this pipeline from ever being built, and stop these tankers.
Of course now they are laughing their way to the bank. KM bought the existing pipeline in 2007 for about $550 million. Trudeau just bought the same 60 year old, leaky, pipeline for 4.5 billion.
What a terrible deal. What an act of desperation.
It’s outrageous to use public funds to bail out a multinational corporation, when we could be creating more jobs by investing in a clean energy economy instead.
4.5 billion, when 3.2 billion could ensure clean drinking water in First Nations communities across Canada. Tells you where his priorities lie.
The govt says they will find investors to buy the pipeline. But KM couldn’t find investors, that’s why they wanted out.
Investors seem to understand what the federal govt doesn’t:
– the economics aren’t there for this project.
– It faces a BC govt standing up to defend our communities from the risk of bitumen spills.
– It faces multiple indigenous legal challenges, any one of which could overturn project approval.
– And it faces us.
Do you love this coast?! Will you do what it takes to protect it!?
I am with you. Take notice, investors. We aren’t going anywhere.
If the feds can’t sell the thing, we the taxpayers would be paying to build it, to the tune of 17 billion dollars!
Just imagine… 17 billion could implement a national pharmacare program, or $15 dollar a day daycare across Canada.
If you had any doubt that we live in a petrostate… well, the masks are off. Our prime minister is now CEO of an oil company.
The double speak coming from federal politicians is astounding.
They talk about indigenous reconciliation but then try to push a pipeline across unceded territories, without consent.
They talk about climate action but this pipeline would enable expansion of the tar sands and release so much carbon it would make it impossible to meet our Paris climate commitments.
They say 400 oil tankers a year carrying diluted bitumen past our home will somehow make this coast a safer place.
I call BS.
We are here today so the Coldwater nation in the interior can have clean drinking water. We are here for the salmon, and the endangered orca whales that would likely go extinct, even without an oil spill, just from the noise of the tankers.
We are here because indigenous rights are human rights. We are here for the 98,000 jobs that depend on a healthy coast.
We are here because a tanker spill of diluted bitumen would be impossible to clean up.
We are here because this year the wildfires started before the flooding had ended and I don’t know about you but I find climate change terrifying. This is about our very survival.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the KM pipeline or the Trudeau pipeline, the risks are still the same.
It doesn’t matter who owns it, or how much he smiles, no STILL means no!
We are not alone.
– First Nations are in court, saying no
– members of the Tsleil-Waututh nation are at the Watchhouse in Burnaby, saying no
– The Secwepemc women warriors are building tiny houses along the pipeline route, saying no
– All the hundreds who have been arrested, are saying no
– the youth in Vancouver who walked out of school and took to the streets, are saying no
– In the past couple weeks, there have been rallies in Quebec and in Seattle. Over 230 org’s from 44 countries sent a letter to Trudeau, opposing this pipeline.
The world is watching. The world is waking up to the fact that Trudeau’s actions are a betrayal of his words.
We know how to stop a pipeline. We stopped Enbridge, we can stop Trudeau’s pipeline also.
The game has changed, and it won’t be easy, but we can do it.
Remember all that we are saying yes to. Remember that stopping these tankers, and doing something about climate change, is an act of love.
Look after yourself. Stay grounded in this beautiful place we call home.
And then find your voice, get involved, do more. Step outside your comfort zone.
Let the federal govt know this buy-out, and this pipeline and tankers, are unacceptable.
Ask your friends and family across the country to join rallies at MP offices on Monday.
Are you with me, will you do what it takes to protect this coast and our climate?!
Will you stand together to ensure this pipeline is never built?!
Will you speak up to defend our home?!
I’m with you.
Let’s build the community we want to see, and start healing the earth that sustains us. A better future is possible.