Protesters target Kinder Morgan's Calgary office on day of action against Trans Mountain

Protesters target Kinder Morgan's Calgary office on day of action against Trans Mountain

A small group of protesters blocked the entrance to the Kinder Morgan offices in downtown Calgary on Friday, in protest against the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline through British Columbia. 

“We want to amplify the voices of many First Nations and communities along the route who are standing up to defend their land and water,” said Hannah Gelderman, an organizer with Climate Justice Edmonton, the group behind the protest. 

“This pipeline is a huge risk to investors, with all the opposition, the pipeline’s not going to go through.”

The Trans Mountain project would see the pipeline’s capacity more than doubled to help ship bitumen from the oilsands to the West Coast.

It has faced intense opposition in British Columbia and has been tied up in the regulatory system and the courts for years. 

The project has also led to threats of a trade war between B.C. and Alberta, and there have been ongoing protests on the West Coast, particularly in Burnaby. 

Inside the offices

Inside the building on Friday, a livestream broadcast on Facebook by Climate Justice Edmonton showed two small groups of protesters on opposite ends of a hallway, blocking two different sets of doors. 

The protesters chanted, sang and read statements from what Gelderman said were Indigenous leaders. 

One of the protesters addressed the camera and said one source of frustration was the current NDP government in Alberta. 

“As Albertans, we’re also here to say when we voted for Rachel Notley, we voted for change,” said the unidentified woman.

“They were looking for a transition and something that isn’t tying us into this boom-bust economy, and what we’ve seen is the same old business as usual with Rachel Notley.”

In Thursday’s provincial budget, the Alberta NDP pegged a lot of their financial hopes on pipeline projects moving forward. 

Rallies for and against

Gelderman said Climate Justice Edmonton is a group of volunteers who want to show that there are Albertans opposed to the pipeline project. 

“We can diversify our economy and there’s a lot of potential in renewables and … we can’t keep investing in a dying industry and an industry that has so much risk from climate and communities. That’s not a sound economic investment.”

The Calgary protest comes on a day of demonstrations against Trans Mountain. Rallies organized by Lead Now were set to take place outside 44 Liberal MP offices across the country. 

At Kent Hehr’s office in Calgary, about 100 people gathered from different sides of the debate. Those in support of the project outnumbered those opposed. 

The supporters are part of an effort organized by the pro-oil group Canada Action, which said rallies would take place in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Steve Phillips said he was there to show support for Alberta oil. 

“Heard about it, come down here to show my support for the pipelines. Sick and tired of Alberta oil being sold for half price. It’s clean oil. It’s ethical oil. It’s better than getting our oil from some of these third-world countries,” he said. 

Phillips was polite but critical of the anti-pipeline protesters. 

“I think most of them, their hearts are in the right places but they’re just misinformed and uninformed, in a lot of cases,” he said.

Published at Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:47:14 -0400