The constituency offices for Liberals MPs had some boisterous visitors on Monday — Trans Mountain pipeline protesters. Opponents of the soon-to-be federally-owned pipeline gathered in front of offices across the country, including all of the federal Liberal constituency offices in British Columbia.
“I am adamantly opposed to buying Kinder Morgan with Canadian taxpayer money, I am also very much against the pipeline period. We don’t need another bitumen pipeline. Bitumen is a terrible product,” said Catherine Hembling.
Hembling gathered with others in front of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s Vancouver South office. She voted for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in the 2015 federal election but vows not to do it again.
Advocacy group LeadNow says there were more than 100 rallies happening across Canada on Monday. Rallies were planned following Ottawa’s decision to buy the existing pipeline for $4.5 billion but would not explain how much more taxpayer money will be put in to build the proposed expansion of the pipeline.
WATCH HERE: Rallies both for and against Trans Mountain pipeline held in Calgary
“We know this pipeline is the exact opposite of what this government should be doing to stop climate change,” said Vancouver South rally organizer Eric Schwartz. “We understand this is endangering all of the waterways across B.C. that it crosses. People voted for Liberals MPs because we thought they were going to do the right thing on climate.”
Outside the House of Commons on Monday, Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna reiterated her government’s support for the pipeline expansion and said it’s time to move on.
“A decision was made, as I say, by the federal government over a year ago, also by the former government of British Columbia. We need to provide certainty to investors and we also need to bring people together,” she said. “The environment and the economy go together and this project will go ahead.”
But protesters gathered across the country aren’t willing to ‘move on.’ Dozens of people have been arrested outside Kinder Morgan’s facilities in Burnaby, B.C., in recent months, including Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and New Democrat MP Kennedy Stewart, who both pleaded guilty to breaking a court injunction barring protests near Trans Mountain worksites.
“The crazy buyout of this pipeline project has actually united people from the left and the right,” said Peter McCartney, a climate campaigner for the Wilderness Committee, who led the rally outside Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s office in Vancouver.
— With files from The Canadian Press