Despite Jail Time For Protester, Pipeline Protests And Arrests Continue In Burnaby
Above Photo: Ruth Campbell and Noaa Edwards blocked the entrance to the Trans Mountain Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby on Aug. 1, 2018, and were later arrested. (JENNIFER GAUTHIER / FOR STARMETRO)
VANCOUVER—Following the sentencing of a 70-year-old woman to a seven-day jail term, protesters continued to show their opposition to a plan to expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline.
On Wednesday, two people defied a court injunction and were arrested near Kinder Morgan’s property near Burnaby Mountain. The protest group Protect the Inlet plans to start camping near the site starting Aug. 20. Two other high-profile protesters will be sentenced on Aug. 15: Jean Swanson, an anti-poverty activist and Vancouver city council; and Susan Lambert, a former president of the BC Teachers’ Federation.
Laurie Embree, a grandmother from 108 Mile Ranch in B.C., was the first protester to be sentenced to jail time; she is serving her sentence at Alouette Correctional Sentence in Maple Ridge and will likely be released Aug. 6, said Sarah Beuhler, a spokesperson for Protect the Inlet. Beuhler said other protesters were prepared to follow Embree’s “path.”
During the sentencing hearing, Embree called the injunction “unjust,” saying it supports an industry causing widespread harm.
But Judge Kenneth Affleck said Embree had been warned repeatedly to stay away from the area covered by the injunction, and jail time was needed to deter her and other protestors from breaking the injunction, according to the Vancouver Sun.
Over 200 people have been arrested since protests started in April. The federal government supports the pipeline, which the oil industry says it needs to move product from Alberta’s oilsands to British Columbia to export overseas. On May 29, the federal government announced it would buy the pipeline at a cost of $4.5 billion in an attempt to make sure the project gets built.
But B.C.’s premier, many First Nations and the mayors of Vancouver and Burnaby oppose the project, which will increase the number of oil tankers plying the waters of Burrard Inlet.
Beuhler said many of the protesters were inspired not only by Embree’s resolve to stand up for what she believes in but sadness over J-35, an orca who has carried her dead calf for nearly a week and has come to symbolize environmental degradation in West Coast waters.