More than 60 protesters greeted Trudeau
The Citizen’s Aug. 8 lead story “Trudeau gets warm Duncan welcome”, chronicling the prime minister’s Aug. 4 visit to the BC Forest Discovery Centre, gave only passing reference to “some protestors” greeting his motorcade. There were in fact over 60 protestors of all ages lining both sides of the road leading into the Forest Discovery Centre holding signs and chanting our displeasure with Trudeau’s $4.5 billion bailout of Kinder Morgan and his betrayal of B.C.’s First Nations.
We challenged Trudeau’s determination to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline asking, “What happened to “only communities can give consent”? If completed, that pipeline will bring diluted bitumen, the stuff nobody knows how to clean up, through numerous unceded and traditional First Nations territories, without their permission, and across numerous fish-bearing rivers and streams at risk of irreparable damage from a spill. We reminded Trudeau of our endangered resident orcas. If diluted bitumen makes it to tide-water and is shipped out of Vancouver, it will increase tanker traffic in the Salish Sea seven-fold. Never mind the real risk of a spill. According to marine scientists, increased traffic and noise alone is likely to push our resident orcas to extinction. Then there’s the kicker of climate change. If that diluted bitumen gets shipped, refined and burned, regardless of which side of the Pacific this combustion occurs, the hope of meeting our Paris climate commitments is gone. We and our children — Trudeau’s children too — will be living in a dangerously climate-unstable world, with more dry rivers and burning forests, one that’s shot well past the 2 C upper limit scientist have been warning us about for decades.
As you reported, on Aug. 4 Trudeau came out with his usual line about us not having to choose between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy. He can say this as often as he likes and it doesn’t make it true. Canada has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and to an 80 per cent reduction by 2050. These reductions are necessary to have any hope of a climate that supports a stable economy into the future. It’s clear that we won’t reach these goals if we increase tar sands production, build more pipelines and burn increasing amounts of fossil fuels. Trudeau apparently didn’t have his number-crunchers on the job on Aug. 4 when he blithely referenced “the national plan to fight climate change”. Dramatically reducing mining, transportation and burning of oil, gas and coal and shifting to a war-level effort focused on transitioning to a renewable economy is essential or we are in deep trouble.
So yes, we had a few things to say to Mr. Trudeau. Interestingly national media coverage of Trudeau’s visit, including both on CBC and in the Financial Post, led with the headline “Trudeau dogged by pipeline protestors as he visits BC Forestry Centre”. Yes, lots of people were happy to shake hands and get a selfie with Justin, and many other local citizens were there to express our concerns.