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Dozens Arrested in Anti-Pipeline Demonstration on Parliament Hill

Friday, October 28, 2016

  • Photos courtesy of Kristen Mandala @kristen.mandala

    Photos courtesy of Kristen Mandala @kristen.mandala

  • Photos courtesy of Kristen Mandala @kristen.mandala

    Photos courtesy of Kristen Mandala @kristen.mandala

  • Photos courtesy of Kristen Mandala @kristen.mandala

    Photos courtesy of Kristen Mandala @kristen.mandala

  • Photos courtesy of Kristen Mandala @kristen.mandala

    Photos courtesy of Kristen Mandala @kristen.mandala

Written by Kathleen Speckert

“Climate Leaders Don’t Build Pipelines” was the pointed message hundreds of students and youth wanted Prime Minister Trudeau to hear in Ottawa last week. In a massive act of civil disobedience, protesters clambered over barricades at Parliament Hill on October 24th, leading to the arrest of dozens by police including members of Fossil Free Guelph.

The party marched from the campus of Ottawa University through the city to the Hill toting banners, placards, and a gargantuan school-house chalkboard with a “Climate 101” message for the Prime Minister.

Simply put, the message sought to highlight a contradiction between Trudeau’s climate commitments in the Paris agreement and approving the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. Canada, along with 194 other countries, formally ratified the Paris agreement earlier this month. Ratifying countries pledge to limit the rise of global temperatures above pre-industrial levels to at least 2oC with a 1.5oC goal.

“We, along with people across Canada are going to continue to turn up the heat on this government when it comes to Kinder Morgan” said Cam Fenton, spokesperson for the demonstration, “with COP22 in Morocco in a few weeks, it's clearer than ever that if Canada wants to lead on climate, they have to reject this pipeline.”

If approved, the $6.8 billion dollar pipeline expansion would transport 890,000 barrels of tar sands crude to the coast of British Columbia each day.

“If Canada builds the new Energy East and Kinder Morgan tar sands pipelines, we will burn 11% of the world’s carbon budget under a 2oC target and nearly 25% under a 1.5oC target” says an open letter to Mr. Trudeau signed by environmental scientists and social activists including Naomi Klein, Maude Barlow, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, and David Suzuki.

In another letter to the Prime Minister, the mayor of the City of Vancouver, along with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations vocally opposed the expansion of the pipeline citing environmental, economic, and community consent-based concerns.

Monday’s event in opposition to the pipeline is being heralded as a success by organizers and participants.

“The main objective was to show the Prime Minister that youth and students are organized, powerful andclearly stating that climate leaders don't build pipelines...to do that at the same time as bringing the Kinder Morgan issue out of BC to the steps of Parliament was a huge success” says Fenton, “Climate 101 was a clear sign that youth and students are organized and escalating their actions demanding climate justice.”

Participants underwent rigorous preparations for the demonstration including mandatory legal training for possible day-of scenarios.

“The legal training was taken very seriously by Climate 101 and 350.org in order to properly ready the participants and ensure that they knew exactly what they were getting themselves into by risking arrest at the demonstration” said Kristen Mandala, a participant at the event.

“Throughout history, social movements have trained to use civil disobedience as a tool for change, from the civil rights movement to the daily non-violent direct action trainings happening right now at the Standing Rock camp in North Dakota” said Fenton.

While the pipeline has already seen a green light from the National Energy Board, the Trudeau government is expected to make a final decision this December.

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