Protest group rallies outside of energy conference
By Dylan Hackett, News Editor
On Wednesday, May 30, a small group of protesters stood outside of the Canadian Oil and Gas Export Summit at the Four Seasons Hotel to rally against the proposed Enbridge pipeline and other industrial projects in proposal for British Columbia. Among the crowd were small families, curious onlookers, many young people, and the Vancouver Police Department.
“This issue isn’t just about the pipeline, it’s about what is on the other end of the pipeline,” spoke Harjap Grewal of the Council of Canadians. “We’re not opposing Enbridge just because of the impact it will have on the coast and in the rivers and streams. We’re actually in solidarity with the people in Fort Chipewyan, the people in Northern Alberta.”
While many at the rally were there on their own political accord, a couple of grassroots groups were also outside the Four Seasons Hotel informing fellow protesters of their own group’s agenda—including a band of residents from Christy Clark’s riding of Vancouver-Point Grey.
Representing Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, Kevin Washbrook told The Other Press that “We’ve raised all this money for these ads through bake sales and through dance parties. The point is to show its not big shadowy organizations, it’s people on the ground who care about this stuff.”
The Canadian Pacific Railway were also featured at the export summit, proposing rail transport as an alternative to the often-derided pipelines, a concession not favoured by all of those protesting.
A few protesters also wielded pots and pans, symbolic of the Quebec-inspired casserole protests taking place later in the day.
“I think generally, being in the streets and having protests is a really great way of getting the message out,” claimed Grewal. “I think people are going to need to push the envelope and push the boundaries of protest to actually really challenge the different levels of government and industry and create uncertainty for them. We want to create uncertainty for the economics of these projects. We, as disobeying people will be that uncertainty.”
Attendees of the summit itself, which featured prominent oil and gas industry executives, seemed to ignore the protest. The Canadian Pacific Railway were also featured at the export summit, proposing rail transport as an alternative to the often-derided pipelines, a concession not favoured by all of those protesting.
“People have to ask themselves, if they cancel the pipeline and decide to ship tar sands crude by rail to the same port, would they be okay with that?” proposed Grewal. “I would say ‘no,’ because I don’t like the tar sands. I think the tar sands are a horribly destructive project.”