Protestors around B.C. were out in numbers after the Canadian Conservative government conditionally approved Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project on Tuesday.
In Vancouver, groups gathered at the corner of Georgia and Hamilton – beside the CBC and Canada Post buildings – to voice their disapproval.
“The federal government has gone ahead and given it the thumb’s up,” said protest organizer Shannon Hecker. “We’re here to put our fists up and say, ‘No, it’s not gonna go through.'”
Former B.C. Green Party leader Adriane Carr was also downtown to join the protests.
“I’m disgusted,” she said. “I think that it’s a blow to democracy and certainly a blow to our children’s future.”
First Nations protestors were also vocal at the same spot in Vancouver, with one woman telling the crowd, “It is my job to make sure that my great, great grandchildren have salmon to eat. It is my job to make sure they have fresh water to drink.”
The pipeline has been controversial for both economic and environmental reasons, with opponents concerned about the effect a possible spill could have on B.C.’s wildlife and its ecosystem.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called Northern Gateway of “vital interest” for Canada to decrease its dependance on American oil, while the British Columbia government has outlined five conditions it says the pipeline needs to meet before Victoria can approve it – the first condition was met when the federal government approved the project.
“The bigger problem is not what the courts say about this, but social licence,” said Greg McDade, a lawyer who has led multiple aboriginal rights challenges and expects to represent bands against Enbridge, to Black Press reporter Jeff Nagel.
“I don’t think it’s feasible to build a pipeline in a remote area against the wishes of the First Nations who live there.
“I think that, more than the court process, is the end of this pipeline.”