xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ Vancouver, BC - Before a courtroom packed with supporters, Tsleil-Waututh Land Defender Will George was sentenced to 28 days in jail for breaching the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline injunction and was immediately taken into custody. BC Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick deferred to the Crown's recommended sentence and all but ignored arguments from defence counsel for why George should instead be sentenced to community service hours and probation. Today was Day 2 of George's sentencing hearing. Yesterday, Justice Fitzpatrick stated in the morning that she had not read George's 16-page Gladue report, which lays out his childhood history and cultural background, and gives reasons why the court should consider non-custodial sentencing options.
Trans Mountain Pipeline
Activists aiming to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Burnaby say they fear being removed against their will after crews put up fencing and cut down trees in their vicinity on Tuesday and Wednesday. For more than a year, protesters have been occupying treetops in the Brunette River Conservation Area, which sits on the path of the planned expansion to the existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline. They say recent moves from Trans Mountain leave them worried their treetop vigil might be coming to an end. "They're sending a lot of workers on the ground to fence off these trees and to have them very isolated from our supporters that bring us food and bring in supplies every day," said Timothée Govare, who has spent more than 100 days in the tree houses as part of the protest.
With construction underway on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX), many Canadians are seeking greater transparency about the delays and rising costs associated with this publicly-funded pipeline and tanker project. West Coast Environmental Law analyzed hundreds of regulatory documents and construction reports and projected that the Trans Mountain pipeline is delayed into 2023, adding millions to the cost. This report compiles and analyzes various Trans Mountain documents, including regulatory filings, sworn affidavits and Trans Mountain’s own website to estimate and project the current state of delays to construction and their potential cost implications. Our analysis found evidence of delays in each of the seven segments (or spreads) of the project, ranging from two to 23 months.
Blue River, BC — Over 40 human rights lawyers, organizations, authors and First Nations representatives penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling on him to abide by demands made from the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) calling on Canada to immediately halt construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. The letter follows a summer of escalating confrontations, including assaults, surveillance, and harassment targeting Secwepemc land defenders by pipeline workers and security. The letter urging Prime Minister Trudeau to stop the construction of the pipeline was also sent to Jennifer Strachan, Deputy Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and details the precarity of the hostilities between workers from the mobile Trans Mountain Pipeline worker camp and the surrounding Secwepemc community.
Earlier today, activists from Stand.earth, 350 Vancouver, and Leadnow visited the Vancouver B.C. offices of multinational insurer Chubb to deliver petitions with over 130,000 signatures calling on the company not to renew their policy on the Trans Mountain pipeline. Today’s event is part of a campaign that has already led to commitments from 15 insurers to rule out doing business with the pipeline and other tar sands projects. “Wildfires, floods, and extreme weather events are costing the insurance industry billions. That is why so many insurance companies are cutting their ties to the dirtiest, most carbon intense forms of fossil fuels that are driving climate change” said Sven Biggs, Canadian Oil and Gas Campaign Director for Stand.earth. “Chubb CEO Evan Greenberg needs to join other industry leaders and rule out insuring the tar sands and tar sands pipelines, like Trans Mountain, to protect his bottom line and all of our futures.”
Trans Mountain insurer and Lloyd’s of London syndicate Argo Group has pledged to cut ties with the existing Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline when its current insurance policy expires on August 31, 2021, and to not insure the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. Following the Canadian authorities’ decision to hide the project’s insurance backers from public scrutiny, Argo is the first insurer to drop the pipeline in this year’s round of policy renewals, joining more than ten insurance companies that have vowed not to touch Trans Mountain. In an email to Public Citizen, Argo stated: “We currently insure the Trans Mountain pipeline, but do not intend to renew it when the policy expires in August 2021. This type of project is not currently within Argo’s risk appetite.”
A group of protesters has blocked the port access at Clark and Hastings in Vancouver since Tuesday night. The action was organized by Braided Warriors, a newly formed group, made up of Indigenous youth from many Nations, who fights for Indigenous sovereignty mostly on the unceded territories of the Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations. The group is calling for the release of Indigenous elder Stacy Gallagher who was sentenced to 90 days in jail Tuesday. Gallagher was handed the sentence in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday by judge Shelley Fitzpatrick for violating an injunction that bars people from protests at Trans Mountain sites in Burnaby. It was at the Burnaby tank farm in 2019 where Gallagher took part in a smudging ceremony and was subsequently apprehended and charged.
A group of Indigenous youth took their fight against the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project to the Vancouver offices of insurance companies backing the controversial venture earlier this week. On Thursday, approximately 20 youth from the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh) and other First Nations occupied the lobby — as well as south and west entrances — of 250 Howe St., a high-rise building housing Chubb Insurance Co. of Canada, one of 11 insurers backing the pipeline project. “We are demanding that they stop insuring the pipeline,” said a protest spokesperson who declined to give their name. “We’re going to be here all day, we’re going to make sure that they hear us, that they know that we’re here, that we know that we are trying to pressure them to stop insuring this pipeline.”
The fight over a $12.6-billion federal government pipeline project continues. This weekend, environmental activist Timothee Govare has moved into a tent 20 metres up in the air. It's among three maple trees near Lost Creek in Burnaby. "I am here in the canopy of the trees of Lost Creek to prevent their imminent logging preceding the installation of the Trans Mountain pipeline,” Govare said in a news release. “I see the urgency of acting on the climate crisis." This action comes just over a week after CN police cleared out the Holmes Creek Protection Camp. Govare was one of those who were previously occupying the Cottonwood Treehouse, which was 25 metres up in the air in this area.
On October 19, 2019, Manuel and Tiny House Warrior land defender Isha Jules were charged by the RCMP with mischief when they told construction workers that they did not have consent from the Secwepemc peoples to flag on Highway 5 near Moonbeam Creek, about 60 kilometres north of Blue River, British Columbia. Manuel’s wrist was fractured during the arrest. The Tiny House Warriors have set up camps around Blue River (about 230 kilometres north of Kamloops) and Valemount (about 90 kilometres north of Blue River). Moonbeam is situated in between these two communities on Highway 5.
Canada - Several people were arrested on Thursday (Oct. 15) at the Trans Mountain construction site on Mission Flats in Kamloops. Members of the We, the Secwépemc Unity Camp to Stop the Trans Mountain Pipeline walked across Canadian Pacific Railway tracks and onto the Trans Mountain site. There, at least two protesters sat on an excavator and called for others opposed to the pipeline expansion project to help stop the work being done. When Trans Mountain employees told protesters they were violating a B.C. Supreme Court injunction prohibiting the obstruction of access to Trans Mountain's worksites and that they must leave, a protester responded by saying they would stay.
A group of Secwepemc people held a canoe and kayak ceremony Saturday morning in Kamloops in opposition to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project drilling under the Thompson River. The journey began at Adams Lake and the group kayaked and canoed their way to the Mission Flats area for a potluck dinner and games. “Families from our Secwepemc Nation came together for the No TMX Canoe and Kayak Journey today to be in ceremony and offer prayers and protection for our clean water and our wild salmon," says Anushka Nagji, a Secwepemc activist.
Tim Takaro is by himself but insists he isn't alone. Takaro, 63, is protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project by camping out in a cluster of trees in Burnaby, B.C. Takaro is a professor of health sciences and environmental health at Simon Fraser University and a former physician, having retired from clinical medicine in December 2019. He and other environmental activists say trees along the Brunette River near the boundary between Burnaby and New Westminster are slated to be felled between now and Sept. 15 as part of pipeline construction.
Kinder-Morgan’s application for approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion (TMX) has been bouncing around in Canada’s federal courts like a pinball since 2013. First Nations tribes and environmental groups have valiantly worked the flippers of the judicial pinball machine for years, filing lawsuits and appeals, to keep that shiny ball from rolling down the drain of approval. But on July 2, down it went when the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) denied three First Nations leave to appeal the decision of a lower court.