PIPELINE PROTEST: 'We can't afford to risk the treasures'
A Kamloops MLA-hopeful says Premier Christy Clark and Kamloops MLA Terry Lake should be “coming out as our defenders” on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
Tom Friedman, the BC NDP’s candidate in Kamloops-South Thompson, told a small but noisy crowd the BC Liberal government should take stronger action on the controversial pipeline during a rally in front of City Hall on Wednesday, July 18.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said. “This should not be a partisan issue.”
The proposed pipeline would export bitumen and crude oil from the Alberta oilsands to Kitimat, B.C., where it could be shipped by tanker to Asia.
But it’s drawn fire from environmental groups and many B.C. First Nations — particularly since Calgary-based Enbridge was harshly criticized in the U.S. for its handling of a major pipeline leak in Michigan in 2010.
Katie Welch-Hughes, who brought her daughter Heather to the rally, said she’s concerned about damage to B.C.’s environment if the pipeline fails in any way.
“We can’t afford to risk the treasures, the beautiful, natural treasures we have in this province,” said Welch-Hughes, who is also writing a fictional account of an oil leak in Kitimat to raise awareness about the pipeline’s dangers.
“The leak is not if but when with Enbridge’s track record.”
“I think it’s such a dumb idea,” added Heather.
“I hope more people know about it and we raise awareness.”
The Kamloops rally is one of several along the pipeline route taking place in the next few days, as part of an anti-Enbridge caravan organized b a group of Nelson protestors.
Organizer Keith Wiley said the campaign — known as the Kootenay to Kitimat Caravan — is meant to show those on the proposed pipeline route that other B.C. residents share their concerns about its impacts.
Caravan members are also collecting signatures for a proclamation of solidarity.
However, not everyone who attended the rally was swayed by the environmental worries.
Sheila Archibald, who stopped briefly to talk with protestors, said she thinks opposing Enbridge is a “waste of time,” and those who are concerned about the pipeline should “invest time in working,” by becoming pipeline inspectors.
“If someone doesn’t do something soon there’s going to be only protestors in the world and nothing happening,” she said.
The caravan is due in Williams Lake tomorrow (July 19).
The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project would see Enbridge construct twin pipelines linking Bruderheim, Alta. — just north of Edmonton — with Kitimat, B.C. The proposal has come under fire in recent months, especially as Enbridge was last week criticized for its handling of a U.S. spill in 2010.