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For Immediate Release, January 29, 2021 Contact:
Maayan Kreitzman 604 723 9577

Four arrested near Port of Vancouver in anti-pipeline action

Unceded Coast Salish Territories (VANCOUVER, BC) — Four people were arrested by the VPD around 2 PM today for a peaceful demonstration against the Trans Mountain pipeline project. Extinction Rebellion Vancouver gathered at Callister park and walked down McGill Street around 1:00 pm, blocking half the road. Within 10 minutes of arriving at the eastern entrance of the Port of Vancouver, the VPD moved in to clear the demonstrators, disallowing the demonstration from continuing. Four people remained sitting peacefully on the road, and were arrested. All four have now been released from the VPD lockup.

Photos are available here

The nonviolent civil-disobedience action, organized by Extinction Rebellion Vancouver, aims to pressure the Trudeau government to cancel the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline. With President Biden’s swift rollout of a climate agenda, and his cancelation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, the Canadian government’s climate and energy policies are now under the microscope.

“I think arrest is a small sacrifice to make in the face of the critically necessary changes that our governments need to make” said Janice Oakley, after being released from the police lockup. “Their inaction is enabling a slow murder of all life on Earth. It’s immoral what they’re doing. So I stood up, or rather sat down, for that cause directly. I hope they will act on the science. We need the government to help us turn this around. Are we up for the challenge to be courageous?”

“We need to be taking action even during Covid because this pipeline must be stopped before it irreparably harms our environment, our relationships with first nations and the last chance we have to avoid climate breakdown” said Omri Haiven, another one of the four people arrested. “Going through with this blunder of buying a pipeline to save the climate at a time where oil prices are at all time lows is foolish and arrogant of Justin Trudeau. He needs to invest in renewables which yield more jobs per dollar.”

Background

The $12-15 billion pipeline project was purchased from Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan by the federal government in 2018. Costs on the pipeline have ballooned since the purchase. The project is opposed by the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Coldwater Indian Band, who were recently denied leave to appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada. It also conflicts with Canada’s commitment under the Paris Climate Agreement to keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degree Celsius. The project would impact numerous drinking water sources along the route, Burrard Inlet and Tsleil-Waututh, Qayqayt and other First Nations, Burnaby Mountain and Simon Fraser University. It would also spell a 7-fold increase in tanker traffic in the Burrard inlet and an increased threat to the endangered Southern Resident Orcas. The Province of British Columbia, the State of Washington, and 20 municipalities oppose the pipeline project. The existing Trans Mountain pipeline is already a major environmental and public health hazard with a long history of disastrous spills. In June this year, 50,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a pump station located above an aquifer that supplies the Sumas First Nation with drinking water. A recent warning from economists states that the TransMountain project is no longer financially viable. In November, the Canada Energy Regulator released a report stating that there is no need for any pipeline expansion if Canada takes measures to curb GHGs, and the Parliamentary Budget Office reported that TMX will only be marginally profitable if no further climate measures are taken. 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.

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 Vancouver’s key demands are:

JUST TRANSFORMATION - Government must respond to the climate and ecological crisis with a just transformation that is actively decolonial, prioritizing the livelihoods of workers and the rights of those most oppressed by the present system, including our non-human relations.

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. ###