B.C. Leaders Plan Mass Rally Against Enbridge Gateway Pipeline October 22

Next month, Canadians will launch one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in the country’s history. Over 80 influential leaders from across the country, representing a wide cross-section of “business, First Nations, environmental, labour, academic, medical and artistic communities…announced an upcoming mass sit-in in front of the provincial legislature in Victoria, British Columbia on October 22,” according to the DefendOurCoast.ca announcement.

The demonstration will showcase British Columbians' growing opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline that would pump roughly 525,000 barrels of diluted bitumen each day from Alberta to the B.C. coast for export, and the threat pipelines and tanker traffic pose to the province’s pristine coastline. 
Some of the notable leaders lending their support to the sit-in are Stephen Lewis, David Suzuki, Maude Barlow, Naomi Klein, Tom Goldtooth, David Coles, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, John O’Connor, and Tony Clarke
“There are moments in history when it’s clear that our elected leaders are failing us and it is necessary to take a stand,” said prominent author and environmentalist Tzeporah Berman. “Today we are stating our intention to defend our coast and calling on others to join us. The risk of oil spills and irreversible harm to our tourism and fishing industries from these pipelines and tankers is just too great.”
The public demonstration takes its inspiration from the August 2011 sit-ins in Washington, D.C. that brought national coverage to TransCanada’s Keystone XL plans to pipe tar sands bitumen from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Similar protests in Ottawa also helped publicize Canadians' growing discontent with rapid tar sands expansion and the push to build pipelines to the continent’s coastlines for exporting oil to overseas markets.
“This October, we pledge to defend our coast and the mountains, rivers, forests, wildlife and First Nations communities of B.C. against tar sands pipelines and tankers,” Susan Spratt, Western Regional Director of the Canadian Auto Workers said in the press release. “We want long-term green jobs that will take us beyond fossil fuels, not short-term high risk pipelines.”
Organizers for the rally hope that a national call to action will encourage Canadians to defend B.C.’s coast and protect the constitutional and treaty rights of the province’s many First Nations that collectively denounce Enbridge's pipeline plans.
“We hope people from all walks of life and from across the country join us in Victoria and defend the natural beauty and cultural richness of the B.C. coastline,” said Chief Jackie Thomas, Saik'uz First Nation in the press release. "We will be there to show the widespread opposition to tar sands pipelines and tanker proposals and to show the strength of the support for First Nations people's rights to land and title and the internationally protected right to free, prior and informed consent on any development impacting our traditional territories."
The rally comes at a crucial time for the pipeline, which is currently under review in a federal National Energy Board-led hearing. Thousands of Canadians have spoken out against the pipeline in the recent hearings which will continue for another 6 months. 
Only a few months ago the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline seemed like a shoe-in for approval, which lies solely with the Harper government - the project's political supporter.

However, the recent upswing in opposition means the Conservatives must take a precautionary approach to the project if they want to maintain political support in B.C.

The rally organizers feel that now is the time to show the Harper government just how cautious they need to be when dealing with one of the West coast's greatest sources of identity, recreation, economy, and pride.

Follow the action and find out more at DefendOurCoast.ca.

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