Pipeline approval brings back protest memories

Tuesday’s announcement by the federal government that it has granted conditional approval for the Kinder Morgan company to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline to carry bitumen from Northern Alberta to the Westridge terminal in North Burnaby brought back memories of covering weeks of protests against the project in 2014.

Opponents of the project include First Nations, environmentalists, academics and local politicians.

In late October-November, 2014, these disparate voices gathered at Burnaby Mountain to draw a line in the sand around a drilling project by a survey company to take soil samples in anticipation of the pipeline’s construction through the mountain.

What started as peaceful community rallies soon escalated to an encampment to court injunctions to mass arrests. By the time the protest camp was dismantled by the RCMP, hundreds of protesters, including prominent First Nations’ leaders, had been arrested.
Opponents of the project have vowed to muster their forces anew, with even greater vigour, now that it has been given the go-ahead.

This look back at those weeks of rallies and protest on Burnaby Mountain may be a portent of events to come.

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