MORE THAN 100 people rallied in front of MLA Robin Austin’s office yesterday afternoon in opposition to tankers and oil traffic off B.C.’s coast.
Participants linked arms, spanning the length of the Lazelle Ave mini-mall, and heard from speakers and organizers about why the fight to protect our coast is so crucial, as cars passing by honked their support.
“I’m guessing there was closer to 200 at the high point of it,” said Mikael Jenson, the coordinator here in Terrace.
“Young and old community members were present at this event,” he said, noting that the issue is as topical today as when the Enbridge project was first announced.
“The current provincial government has suggested that our environment has a price attached to it, all present at the rally yesterday disagree with this idea,” he said.
The gathering was part of the larger Defend our Coast province wide day of action organized by Leadnow.ca and Dogwood Initiative.
Rallies were held in front of MLA offices province-wide in order to pressure politicians to commit to banning oil tanker expansion off the coast, a move that organizers say would stop the Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan pipeline projects.
Yesterday’s events follow the mass sit-in in Victoria on Monday, Oct. 22 that saw 2000 people rally in front of the provincial legislature.
Seventy communities across the province participated in yesterday’s day of action and turnouts were higher than expected in many communities, with estimates of 5000 people taking part — more than organizers were expecting, said organizer Nadia Nowak in a press release sent out yesterday.
The largest rally was at Davis Bay on the Sunshine Coast, with 500 participants.
“When you have upwards of 500 people gathering on short notice in places like Sechelt, and upwards of 200 people in Salmon Arm, you can see in the flesh what polling has been telling us for some time,” said Nowak. “British Columbian’s strongly oppose pipeline and tanker expansion, and they are mobilizing in their communities to make sure their elected officials get the message.”
Jensen says events like this will continue here in Terrace, with the Northwest Community College Students’ Union incorporating the issue into a get out the vote campaign. A voter-registration campaign is first, followed by a voter awareness and issues-based lobbying campaign in January.
“Each day that passes is another day where the B.C. and the Harper government continues to ignore the public opposition to Northern Gateway in the North and Kinder-Morgan in the South. The jury is out, and the public, en mass, disagree with the idea of raw tar-sand dilbit being exported period, and through the B.C coast,” he said.