Thousands marched in Burnaby in protest of pipeline expansion
Benjamin Jacobs / contributor
For a long time, a debate has been going on about whether or not the Kinder Morgan Pipeline can expand their existing pipeline. Many Indigenous people are infuriated at the company because their expansion is just above the Secwepemc people’s sacred ground.
Ever since, people against the company’s actions expressed their outrage via protests against Kinder Morgan, and a rally on Saturday, March 10 was an example of those planned events. Thousands of activists took time out of their schedules to participate in protests against the company’s plans of expanding their existing pipeline. In the New York Times, a member of the Tseli-Waututh Nation, George Rubin said, “Our spiritual leaders today are going to claim back Burnaby Mountain.”
With the pipeline’s expansion comes the list of potential disasters. Yes, this can provide jobs, allow for more fossil fuels to be exported for transportation and this can benefit the business by giving them more profit. However, the kind of behaviour that this business is presenting towards this project is very unethical, so this protest was justified like the others that came before it.
According to a CBC article, the Secwepemc people did not consent to have the pipeline on their sacred grounds. If there is no consent from the people that own the land, then Kinder Morgan has no right to expand the pipeline in the first place. This kind of behaviour from a business is quite distasteful and is unfair to the people that view the area as sacred to expand their existing pipeline over something with sentimental and cultural value to them. If companies begin to show signs of distasteful behaviour without taking responsibility for it, then the consumers should make them by supporting their competition. Especially since any spillage caused by the pipeline itself will not only damage the sacred ground that the Secwepemc people hold dear, but create serious health concerns such as water poisoning. These activists acknowledged the consequences of the expansion with signs saying, “Water is life”, “No consent, no pipeline” and “Keep it in the ground”, even carrying inflatable orcas and traditional native drums to show what will be affected after the expansion.
The company has had its fair share of oil spills in the past. According to the Trans Mountain website itself, about 82 spills have happened for this company since 1961. With this history of spillages and the potential damage to the pipeline’s surroundings, the company cannot be trusted with this kind of plan.
The protesters have the right to protest against this expansion. After all, not only is this an exercise in freedom of speech, but a response to the unethical behaviour of how the company is acting with the controversy surrounding the pipeline. Considering that Kinder Morgan is fully aware and completely indifferent about their disrespectful behaviour, it makes the protesters even more justified. The fact that Kinder Morgan had no consent from the land’s owners in the first place, are not taking responsibility for the backlash and are completely indifferent about this unethical plan shows that the expansion must be cancelled.