In Part 1, I shared my unintended practise run in taking ‘bold action’, as it’s called when one is willing to step in and interfere with business as usual. I’m referring to the Kinder Morgan (KM) case to build a bitumen pipe through Burnaby Mountain.
The plethora of issues surrounding that are really only now becoming more widely-known. Some include highly unusual, if not illegal government proceedings; significant spill dangers for the inlets surrounding Vancouver; the lack of emergency plan and no way for an entire university, an elementary school, and several neighbourhoods on that mountain to escape in the event of a fire or explosive emergency.
These buildings and neighbourhoods are all situated within meters to blocks from the current 60 yr. old oil tanks and potentially new ones that would hold the highly toxic bitumen mixture. The economic story is yet another picture that’s been distorted in the name of “national interests”. As, Sue Andrews noted, “For the addition of 2,500 temp jobs mostly to foreign workers, 90 permanent jobs and $50M a year in taxes. Pathetic. One TV series brings in $60M a year”. Also for the record, Alberta made more money from liquor and gambling over the last 2 years than selling 3 million barrels of bitumen per day.
Next is the issue of getting arrested for protesting unjust decisions or actions. In protection of Kinder Morgan interests, politicians, some media (who have thrown-out all pretense of non-biased reporting) and employees of the Fraser Institute writing op-eds have been working overtime to inject the fear of action by inferring that exercising our right to protest is akin to terrorism.
They have loudly and widely reported that the process is now ‘criminal’ without explaining what civil and criminal disobedience means. They have resorted to referring to the: accountants, writers, grandmothers, high school cooks, students, truck drivers, fishermen/women, teachers, etc. as, ‘eco-terrorists’.
They choose these words purposefully, the smoke and mirrors of swaying public opinion. They trot out recent polls that say ‘most British Columbians support the pipeline’, while ignoring that their simplistic polls asking ‘for or against’ does not take into account that many of those who are for it initially, have a change of heart when they get more information.
Many are under the impression this pipeline is about getting gas for their own cars or fuel for their homes. When they realize that pipeline has nothing to do with that nor providing ‘huge economic opportunity’, plus our having to pay KM major subsidies, they change their vote. (See the recent poll on the 574,000 BC citizens willing to be arrested).
So, what does this process of action and arrest really look like? It’s all a fairly simple event, really. On this typical day, we began by meeting on the field where the base camp is situated. We received instructions on the rules & what the process looks like. The rules for engagement: say or do nothing to KM employees or the police, stay peaceful, be sober, discard anything that could be construed as a weapon, even a nail file.
We then walked a short distance to the KM gate where some of us chose to sit in front of it, knowing the KM employees would call the police. Arresting officers came out, read the injunction out loud, then warned us of imminent arrest if we didn’t leave. They gave us 10 minutes to think about it.
We used that 10 minutes to stand up and voice our thoughts to the supporters and media that surrounded us, then 2 of us chose to walk away and take our arresting action another day. The other 2 were escorted down a short trail to the side of the KM gate to a temporary outdoor office cordoned off by police tape. Their personal contact details were taken and they received a notice to appear in court on specified date. Then they re-joined us. That process took approximately 15 minutes.
From that point, you can expect to be supported in court by legal advisors to various groups involved in these actions and general supporters. It’s then you will learn if the outcome includes charges dropped or stayed, or a $500 fine and/or 25 hours of community service. Help is available for those unable to pay the potential fine.
We all need to be aware Canada is a corporation. We are its shareholders and we have a right to speak out when the executive screw up. I raise my hands to all who have warriored up on behalf of their family members now and those to come.