Protesters arrested outside Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby
RCMP officers arrested protesters who gathered outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby, B.C. Saturday, but pipeline opponents have vowed to continue the fight.
Dozens of defiant protesters marched to the Texas-based energy corporation's Westridge Marine Terminal and created a blockade at the entrance, despite a court injunction that was issued this week barring them from the space.
Some told reporters they knew they could be arrested, but were determined to prevent the company from making an upcoming construction deadline at the site.
Kinder Morgan has been logging trees at the terminal to make way for its Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, but only has until March 26 before migratory birds arrive in the area, forcing them to put the work on hold until August.
"I don't even need to eat food – skip it! I can stay out here all week until the birds come," said Korry Zepik, a protester from Vernon.
Police arrived hours later carrying copies of the B.C. Supreme Court injunction, which was granted to stop demonstrators from interfering with construction at both of Kinder Morgan's Burnaby terminals.
Officers handed the injunctions out to pipeline opponents and offered them the choice between leaving voluntarily and facing possible charges. They then began arresting protesters one at a time.
While demonstrators were generally peaceful and compliant, several of them had already tied themselves to the terminal's fence.
Clayton Thomas-Muller, who travelled to Manitoba to take part in the protest, was among them. Earlier in the day, he argued protesters have power in numbers, and will not back away from the pipeline battle.
"We're going to be here as long as it takes taking bold action to stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline, to stop the expansion of the Alberta tar sands, and to transition Canada and First Nations into a 100 per cent renewable economy," he said.
While the project has received National Energy Board approval, Thomas-Muller said he's still confident it can be beaten. He pointed to the Northern Gateway pipeline, which was also given the greenlight by the NEB before the Justin Trudeau government was elected and decided to shelve the project.
For pipeline opponents, the move did little to forgive Trudeau's support for Kinder Morgan's $7.4-billion expansion, however.
"People across these lands they call Canada all have stated this is not in the national interest," Thomas-Muller said.
"We're here today to say you made the wrong choice, Justin Trudeau."
The arrests were not the first since the injunction was issued on Thursday; RCMP officers took one woman into custody Friday morning after she chained herself to a work truck.
It's unlikely the arrests will do much to dissuade members of the protest movement, who have been riding high since last weekend's massive demonstration in Burnaby that saw thousands of people gather to demand protection for B.C.'s coast.
"This pipeline will not be built," Belle Gee said Saturday. "We are willing to go as far as we need to go to stop this."
But not everyone opposes the project. Stewart Muir, a pipeline supporter who helped organize a counter-rally in downtown Vancouver last weekend, said politicians at all levels of government need to do more to educate the public on the benefits of the Trans Mountain expansion.
"Ultimately, it's about leadership," Muir said. "We need to see civic leaders ... who care about how we pay for healthcare, those people should be stepping up."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Breanna Karstens-Smith
— TCLC (@terminalcityLC) March 17, 2018