Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and a New Democrat MP were arrested today at a protest against Kinder Morgan’s expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline as demonstrations spread across the country.
May and New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart were being processed by RCMP officers inside a tent at the Trans Mountain pipeline terminal in Burnaby.
The two MPs acknowledged they risked arrest after the B.C. Supreme Court placed limits on where demonstrators could protest in an injunction issued last week.
A news release from protest organizers said almost 100 people have been taken into custody since demonstrations in Burnaby began.
The injunction prohibits activists from getting within five metres of Kinder Morgan’s two terminal sites on Burnaby Mountain where work related to the pipeline expansion is underway.
The expansion project will triple the capacity of the pipeline to nearly 900,000 barrels from 300,000.
Before his arrest, Stewart said he was supporting his constituents in Burnaby South and he was aware he could be taken into custody.
“I feel I have no choice at this point but to do this to amplify the deep, deep opposition to this project that is felt by my constituents,” he said.
“It’s a combination of the disastrous potential of this project, but also betrayal around how it was approved that is moving many of my constituents to take the actions that they are.”
A lawyer for Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada, told a judge at hearings on the injunction application that the protesters’ goal was to cause so much financial harm through delays that the company would be forced to abandon the $7.4-billion project, which has been approved by the National Energy Board and the federal government.
Pipeline opponents also had plans to gather at the offices of 44 MPs and deliver water samples taken from the B.C. coast.
They said the demonstrations would be a reminder of the British Columbia waterways threatened by the pipeline expansion, which would increase the number of oil-carrying vessels in the Georgia Strait from eight per month to as many as 37.
The Canadian Press