By Meagan Casalino
From infants to the elderly, Canadians born across the country came to protest the Trudeau government’s approval for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline on Monday.
The event, create by Andrea and Joel Harden, Darrah Teitel and Daniel Cayley-Daoust, brought together families, youth and adults from the Ottawa-region in an effort to show support to prevent the project from moving forward.
Sebastian Ronderos-Morgan, Teitel’s partner and volunteer, said the pipeline will have particularly devastating effects on the orca population off the coast of British Columbia.
“[Orcas] are listed as endangered,” he said. “The National Energy report itself specifically said that the increase in tanker traffic will have a meaningful, sincere impact on the [orca] population, even potentially cause it to go existent.”
Born and raised in BC, Ronderos-Morgan said the orcas are not only important to the overall ecosystem and economy, but to the identity of Native communities within British Columbia.
“It’s a place of biodiversity, something that attracts unknown numbers of tourists every year; something that creates and generates a huge amount of economic activity,” he said. “We really have to weigh the impact this project has on the ecology of certain parts of Canada and the economies that rely on those ecological systems.”
Trycia Bazient, a PhD student in Indigenous Canadian studies at Carleton University, carries a banner with the hash tags “NODAPL” and “STOPKINDERMORGAN.”
She said the issues going on within the United States are similar to what Canadians are facing.
“The fight against pipelines is not just Canadian,” she said. “The boarders are settler and colonial. We see the fight as going across boarders.”
She said Canadians need to realize there are a lot more issues with water pollution not being covered by the media.
“I want to bring attention to more local struggles, such as the Algonquians of Barriere Lake and Rapid Lake,” she commented. “They don’t get as much attention, but there is mining over in their territory…by the corporation [Copper] One. It’s really important to bring attention, when we organize here about issues far away, to struggles that are going on closer to home.”
Canadian singer-song writer Craig Cardiff joins the protesters and performed his song “Safe Here.” Politician Nathan Cullen, a representative for Skeena-Bulkley Valley, British Columbia, gave a quick speech on his support to the protesters.
Protesters provided paper plate masks the resembled Dr. Seuss’s character “The Lorax” and “Truffula Trees” made out of pipe cleaners.
The project was approved back in November amidst protests across the country.