Gabriola’s SOS takes part in pipelines rally
“Why bother?” Indulgent smiles accompanied this question from friends who felt it a waste of time rallying to protest supertankers and pipelines.
The cynics got an answer from the turnout of up to 5,000 determined people who braved the cold winds and rain on the lawns of the legislature in Victoria October 22. We called it peaceful protest. But the hundreds of First Nations chiefs, matriarchs and elders who’d bused down and flown in from Northern BC and Alberta led the crowds in sending powerful messages to big business and governments that the province is not for sale.
The First Nations were joined by ordinary grannies, gramps, working people, students, children, babies and union and church groups who crammed the legislature lawns. “We don’t want secret deals and bullying tactics,” was one forceful statement. “We won’t have Canada sold out!” was another. Even the many dogs there made no loud barks. I wished I’d brought mine along.
The hundreds of placards and colourful banners said it forcefully too, often with artistry and humour. “Oil Kills” said one placard from Gabriola, represented by scores of people who had come by Save Our Shores car pools, and by themselves with families and friends. My own carpool carried a stalwart “nearly 90 year-old”, a young mother and her 10 year-old daughter, and two grannies (including me). The conversation going and returning was as determined and funny as the placards.
The Victoria police who ringed the lawns remained courteous despite their black uniforms which one SOS member found “a bit forbidding”. Some 250 people came forward to face possible arrest. They carried black banners that stretched for 238 metres around the lawns to demonstrate the size of supertankers, then illegally planted them on lawn and pathways, but were not arrested.
I talked to people on that line. They’d come from Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta and “almost everywhere in BC”.
As expected, large numbers were from Victoria and the Gulf Islands.
Gabriola’s own famous protester, Jean McLaren (aged 85), was also prepared for arrest A big smile seemed glued to her face all day. [Pic attached]
SOS members and others from Gabriola joined protesters on Wednesday at MLA offices across the province and many more attended the Council of Canadians conference in Nanaimo October 26-28, with the theme, “Making Waves – Sinking the Harper Agenda”.