Elizabeth May and Sheila Malcolmson speakers for Earth Day on Gabriola

Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Sounder News

Tuesday, April 11 2017

Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada leader, will speak at an Earth Day event presented by a Gabriola group to raise funds for two B.C. First Nations going to court against the Kinder Morgan pipeline. 

IRATE – Island Residents Against Tanker Expansion – hosts the event Saturday, April 22 at the Community Hall, which also features Sheila Malcolmson, MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

May said she will share her views on why there is “no case” for the pipeline, economically or environmentally.

The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project was approved in November 2016 and will expand the existing pipeline, carrying diluted bitumen from Edmonton to Burnaby.  An additional 300 tankers per year would leave Vancouver and travel past the southern tip of Vancouver Island.

May emphasized the pipeline is shipping an unrefined product, and Canada will not see an economic benefit because bitumen is not profitable at the current price of a barrel of oil.

“The Kinder Morgan pipeline threatens jobs in Canada. The National Energy Board refused to hear that information because [it] maintained that they had no mandate to look at the jobs issue.

“There’s nothing but reasons against Kinder Morgan; there’s no reason for it,” she said, adding that it goes against Canada’s climate commitment and also threatens the survival of the endangered southern resident Killer Whale population.May was an official intervenor during the NEB review process. “This was absolutely an inappropriate process and violated the way the National Energy Board has traditionally functioned.”

Federally, May said the Liberals “can always cancel their approval.” 

She said Canadians can attend demonstrations and attract national media attention, particularly through letters to the editor that educate other Canadians about the opposition out west, but highlighted the value of donating to the Coldwater and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations court case. 

The court case argues the approval infringes on the Nations’ Aboriginal title and rights and did not adequately consult with First Nations during the NEB review process.  Pull Together, a joint campaign between Raven Trust, Sierra Club BC and Force of Nature Alliance, has raised $193,000 to date for legal costs.

The City of Burnaby has also filed an application with the Federal Court of Appeal for leave to appeal the federal government’s approval of the expansion. 

The City of Vancouver has called for a judicial review of the B.C. Liberal’s environmental approval of the project. May said she’s “hoping that we will see favourable decisions from the courts on the procedural fairness issues [municipal cases] ... and I think we will see favourable decisions on violation of First Nations rights.”

Fifty-nine First Nations and 21 B.C. municipalities, including Vancouver, North Vancouver, Victoria, and Burnaby oppose the project. Fifty-one Aboriginal communities have signed Mutual Benefit Agreements with Kinder Morgan.