Last week, the federal government announced that we are in a climate emergency, in recognition that our health and economy is being threatened by the extreme weather caused by burning fossil fuels.
The very next day, they said yes – again – to tarsands expansion in the form of a massive carbon bomb, the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers.
The hypocrisy would be laughable, if it weren’t so dangerous.
Saying yes to the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project is saying yes to more record-breaking wildfire destruction, droughts, rising sea levels, acidifying oceans and the threat of southern resident orca extinction. Expanding this fossil fuel infrastructure is a violent act towards current and future generations who have to live with growing climate impacts.
By approving this pipeline, the Prime Minister is saying to all the youth climate strikers that their lives, and their futures, don’t matter.
We are in a climate emergency. We need to act like it.
Instead, our government has doubled down on building this tarsands pipeline and tankers project. It’s not a surprising outcome – the Trudeau government boxed itself into a corner when it purchased the pipeline after Kinder Morgan couldn’t find any buyers. Taxpayers are now on the hook for $4.5 billion for the purchase and an additional $7.4 billion (at least) for construction. If that weren’t bad enough, it’s costing taxpayers more than $12 billion to have Alberta, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick reject even modest climate action.
With this approval, our federal government has swung us off track from meeting our Paris climate target commitments, and even farther off track from its commitment to uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. Indigenous rights and governance are being disrespected again, after another flawed and hasty review process. The federal government’s understanding of what represents genuine consultation and consent must change.
We’ve been here before. And together we know what to do. It’s time to turn our anger into action. It’s time to dance!
Through our Pull Together initiative, we will be supporting community organizers to hold fundraisers in support of the Indigenous nations who are going to court, once again, to stop this pipeline. And we will have some fun, and build community, along the way.
The Tsleil-Waututh Nation has already announced it is heading back to court, and it’s likely that other Nations will follow suit.
Through Pull Together, we can stand behind the Tsleil-Waututh and other Indigenous Nations who file appeals. It’s a winning strategy: Pull Together has so far raised more than $1 million for Indigenous legal challenges that have quashed two pipeline approvals, including Trans Mountain the first time around.
Court challenges are expensive, but by pulling together we are able to lessen the burden on those Nations who have chosen to fight Trans Mountain.
Together, we can keep standing up for wild salmon and clean water. We can keep working to avert climate breakdown and ecological collapse, and the economic collapse that will follow. We can choose instead a livable future for our young people.
The movement of people standing up for bold action in this climate emergency is bigger than ever and growing quickly. There will be no backing down on Trans Mountain – we still say no.
Join us. To organize a community event in support of the Indigenous legal challenges, sign up at pull-together.ca
And donate today so that Sierra Club BC can provide the organizing training, coordination and support to community leaders across the province who want to step up and get involved in stopping Trans Mountain by holding Pull Together events in their communities.