The City of Burnaby says it has no plans to pay the increased policing costs associated with ongoing anti-pipeline protests on Burnaby Mountain.
So far, more than 150 people have been arrested protesting against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, most of them for violating a court-ordered injunction.
There has been a continued police presence outside Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby Mountain facility, and now the city’s mayor says he has no plans to pick up the tab.
B.C.’s Police Act requires cities with a population of over 15,000 to pay for the cost of policing within their geographic boundaries, including for civil disobedience.
But Derek Corrigan is arguing that since Ottawa approved the pipeline expansion, it should be the one paying for extra policing in response to the protests that have cropped up in response.
“The federal government should be standing up now and saying, ‘Yeah, we’ve exercised our jurisdiction, we told the city and the province that they have no right to come in and deal with Kinder Morgan line on their property, and as a result, we’re the ones who are going to be responsible for ensuring that policing is done.'”
It’s not the first time Burnaby has balked at paying for protests against Kinder Morgan. The city still refuses to pay an $800,000 bill related to 2014 protests connected to the project.
WATCH: Kinder Morgan pipeline protest arrests get ugly
In an email statement, an official with the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General acknowledged that payment remains in dispute.
“The Province understands that these major events and other related activities can have a significant impact to taxpayers and works closely with the RCMP and municipalities to keep the public safe,” reads the statement.
“However, the obligations of municipalities are clear, and we encourage them to work with their local police to minimize the impact on municipal budgets while ensuring the safety of the public.”
The total policing costs associated with the protests remains unknown, however, a spokesperson from RCMP’s E-division in B.C says it’s working within its annual operational budget and dealing with expenses.
The public safety ministry added that the Burnaby RCMP get a 10 per cent federal contribution to its policing costs.
However, for Corrigan, that’s not enough.
“The difficulty is getting any commitment from the federal government that they will be responsible for their own action,” he said.
“This is absolutely ludicrous, police are having to be up there all the time, having to deal with these arrests.”