NANAIMO — How the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion has infiltrated various levels of B.C.'s government was the most talked about point in a recent discussion on the pipeline at VIU.
According to Sophie Harrison, with the non-partisan environmental organization Dogwood Initiative, “Our governments (are) consistently willing to prioritize the interests of the fossil fuel industry over a livable future for our generation.” She spoke at VIU's Malaspina Theatre in the discussion put on by local students.
Harrison claimed Kinder Morgan donated nearly $800,000 to the B.C. Liberals and accused Premier Christy Clark of flip-flopping on the issue after the alleged donations.
If the B.C. Liberal's are re-elected, Harrison said Dogwood plans on introducing their own legislation to block Kinder Morgan through the initiative process. It's a method unique to B.C. where a registered voter can introduce a bill if they collect signatures from 10 per cent of registered voters in every provincial district.
The only initiative to succeed is the Fight HST campaign in 2010.
Harrison admitted it will be a difficult task, but they're ready to undertake the challenge if they have to.
“We have an opportunity as citizens to organize our own people and organize in our communities to hold governments to account and make sure this project doesn't go forward. I think the initiative is one of our last legal democratic options and we owe it to people to try.”
Another way to fight the pipeline expansion, Harrison said, was to support the legal challenges brought forward by B.C. First Nations, such as donating money and time.
“I don't think it's fair for non-Indigenous British Columbians to continue to let First Nations do the heavy lifting on stopping these projects.”
Harrison, who has worked with Dogwood for the last six months but volunteered for many years before that, said the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion brought her various environmental efforts into focus.
“They want to expand the tar sands through my community. They're going to do it without the consent of the First Nations whose lands I grew up on and they're going to do it with 400 oil tankers a year past the beaches I play on. It made it very personal.”
The $6.8 billion Kinder Morgan expansion is set to run from Edmonton to Burnaby and has received provincial and federal approval. Kinder Morgan has said it will generate more than 10,000 jobs.
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