A small but hardy group of citizens from the Fredericton area, concerned about the effect that the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline will have on climate change, as well as its impact on the land and Native peoples, conducted a candle light vigil on November 21 to oppose the project.
Braving cold, rainy late fall weather, they gathered on the lawn in front of the provincial legislature building, holding signs and discussing ways to put pressure on the government in Ottawa to shelve the pipeline expansion.
The federal government has indicated that on December 19 it will announce whether the expansion will be allowed. Environmentalists and First Nations peoples around the country have been campaigning against it. The November 21 vigil in Fredericton was one of more than 50 across Canada called for that date by groups such as the Council of Canadians, 350.org, LeadNow, and the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition.
The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline runs from Hinton, Alberta to the Pacific coast at Burnaby, B.C., carrying petroleum from the Alberta Tar Sands for shipment abroad in tanker ships.
At the Fredericton vigil, a member of the Green Party who identified himself as “Tom” said he opposes the Kinder Morgan expansion because it will increase green house gas emissions which cause global warming.
“Climate change is an existential risk for humans on the planet,” he said, and Kinder Morgan would “cause a massive increase in emissions from Canada.” He went on to say that “this is a hugely bad move for Canada and for the planet. We should be spending energy, resources, time, money, mind-share, on developing our clean energy, developing technology in green energy…. The stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stones, so the oil age doesn’t have to end because we ran out of oil. It just has to end so we can move on to far better technology, far better life for everybody.”
A member of the Communist Party who attended the vigil addressed the Native rights issue: “Justin Trudeau promised to enact the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People, and now he’s putting pipelines through their land. That isn’t respecting their sovereignty.”
One of several students at the vigil, Tahara Briggs, was worried about how Kinder Morgan and climate change will affect the futures of young people. “This has a really big impact, especially on youth, not only people living but generations to come. It is our job to stand up to people who aren’t taking action, specifically the government, and we have to express our rights … our right to the environment.”
Norm Knight is a reporter for the NB Media Co-op.