Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Pipeline opponents are again setting up rail blockades in Vancouver. In solidarity with calls to action by land defenders from the Wet’suwet’en and Secwepemc nations, demonstrators will block a rail line that runs directly parallel to the Trans Mountain Expansion route in Burnaby near the intersection of North Road and the Transcanada Highway on Tuesday November 17th at 7 AM. The route regularly ships oil by rail. The demonstration will be non-violent and peaceful.
“This is a reminder to the colonial state and the crown corporation that people won’t hesitate to resume the tactic of railway blockades if this pipeline isn’t cancelled immediately. The government isn’t doing what it takes to protect Canadians from the climate crisis, and it continues to take land away from Indigenous peoples for dangerous fossil fuel development without consent. We are choosing civil disobedience because the government is breaking the social contract. The trans-mountain expansion will contribute to a crisis that threatens death by starvation of hundreds of millions around the world” said volunteer spokesperson, Zain Haq.
“Some of our relations have been and will be in the fight their whole life. Simply because they are Indigenous. It is a privilege to protest. For many it’s a ‘way of life’ but not just a phrase to give a teaching. But because it has to be. We often have no choice to be birthed in a land we need to protect because it’s our home,” said Eric Masuskapoe, a two-spirited Nehiyaw (Cree) participant in the action.
The civil-disobedience action, organized by Extinction Rebellion Vancouver, takes place as pipeline construction begins in the lower mainland and continues elsewhere throughout the province. Company fencing has gone up in recent days at the intersection of Eastlake and Underhill in Burnaby. This despite Canada’s net zero climate commitments and the recent warning from economists that the project is no longer financially viable. Indigenous groups, as well as the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls have pointed out the connection between resource extraction man-camps and violence against Indigenous women.
Directions to Holmes Creek Protection Camp and Blockade
The event will take place southeast of where the Trans-Canada Highway crosses North Road in Burnaby/New Westminster. Parking is available in Lower Hume Park, 660 E Columbia St, New Westminster, or in the nearby shopping centre at Lougheed.
TMX was purchased by the federal government from KinderMorgan in 2018. In February, TMX announced the cost of the pipeline expansion had soared from $7.4 billion to 12. 6 billion.
In February 2020, demonstrators set up rail blockades across Canada in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs’ opposition to the Coastal Gas Pipeline.
Over 200 people have been arrested in peaceful civil disobedience actions on Burnaby Mountain in opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline, mostly in 2018. Opposition continues, with nine people including Secwepemc hereditary leaders getting arrested near Kamloops for standing in the way of pipeline construction in October 2020.
About Extinction Rebellion:
Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and abrupt, runaway climate change. Societal collapse and mass death are seen as inevitable by scientists and other credible voices, with human extinction also a possibility, if rapid action is not taken. Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an international grassroots movement that uses nonviolent direct action to mobilize the public to drive systemic change in the face of the climate and ecological crisis. Extinction Rebellion is fully made up of volunteers and relies solely on donations.
Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government. Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:
TELL THE TRUTH - Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
ACT NOW - Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
BEYOND POLITICS - Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.