Protesters target MLA offices

Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan showed up with a platter of cookies for today's rally



Juan de Fuca MLA John Horgan set the tone for the Defend Our Coast protest in Langford on Wednesday when he showed up with a platter of cookies.

A group of about 70 people of all ages gathered outside his currently closed office, holding signs, singing songs and speaking out against the proposed Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipelines.

“We’re linking arms across the province to continue getting the word out to everybody,” Langford resident Deidre Hill said at the rally. “There’s no place to have these great big huge tankers. There are going to be accidents. We don’t want that at all.”

The protest comes on the heels of Monday’s demonstration at the B.C. legislature where thousands of people organized by Defend Our Coast – a loose coalition of First Nations, unions, environmental organizations and others – voiced their opposition to the project.

In Langford, Horgan passed out his cookies and chatted with the crowd, before linking arms with the others. He apologized for the construction going on at his office and thanked the crowd for coming out.

“I think it’s great, I think it’s fantastic,” Horgan said about the rally. “Monday was extraordinary at the legislature, and to have people coming out in Langford today is good news.”

As the NDP energy critic, Horgan said he is against the proposed pipelines and stands in unity with the protestors.

“The potential impacts on Haidi Gwaii, on the north coast, are just too dangerous to contemplate,” Horgan said. “The opportunities in those regions are local community development projects, not massive mega projects driven by Alberta.”

Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Ida Chong’s constituency office was the site of another protest of the pipeline proposals.

Speaking before the rally, Celine Trojand, a coalition spokesperson, said that protesters will link arms in front of Chong’s office to show an “unbroken wall of opposition” to Enbridge.

“She’s the minister for Aboriginal affairs and this is important to (First Nations people),” Trojand said.

The demonstration at Chong’s office in Saanich was one of a series of demonstrations targeting MLA offices across the province.

Organizers want the protest to draw attention to Chong’s role and responsibilities regarding aboriginal affairs.

“It’s a swing riding (Oak Bay-Gordon Head) that was won by a very narrow margin,” said Trojand. “(Chong) has to know that … the way she handles this issue will make a difference in the next election.”

Chong says that she and the B.C. Liberal government share the group’s concern.

“They’re saying what we’re saying. It’s a matter of risk-benefit and right now there’s nothing but risk.”

In July, the provincial government outlined its position on the pipeline proposals by listing five points that needed resolution before the projects could proceed, including one that requires that aboriginal and treaty rights be addressed.

“There are some 20 B.C. First Nations groups at the (federal joint review panel) hearings. Not one of them support the project. That tells us something,” said Chong.

“If there is no support that develops from First Nations, I would have to go to the premier and say ‘we haven’t met that point and can’t proceed.’ I would have to oppose the project on those grounds.”

For Chong to be successful it begins with listening, said Geraldine Thomas-Flurer, the co-ordinator of B.C.’s Yinka-Dene Alliance. “We haven’t seen her do that yet. She hasn’t even addressed our community yet.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Keith Henry of the B.C. Métis Federation.

“We have grave concerns,” said Henry. “We still haven’t seen them (the province) clarify what (its) position is on First Nation rights and titles. They say it’s an issue, but what’s their position?”

Both Thomas-Flurer and Henry’s organizations took part in last Monday’s protest and the demonstration at Chong’s office.

“These protests are just the beginning,” said Henry.

 

“I ask my staff every week if any First Nations peoples are (supporting) this project,” Chong said. “As of now we have none. That means I can’t support it.”

 

 

Just Posted

420 celebrations turn over new leaf at B.C. legislature

Cannabis is legal for the first time in the 21-year existence of the 420 event in Victoria

Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bowl for Kids’ Sake returns to Langford

Annual fundraising event held from April 26 to 28

VIDEO: ‘Stewie the Starfish’ mascot revealed at Premier League kickoff party

Pacific FC kickoff party scores in Victoria Inner Harbour

Report calls on Saanich to expand multicultural programming at recreation facilities

Report also notes that Saanich could do more for sexual minorities.

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

VIDEO: Fire guts Peachland home

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze in the Okanagan neighbourhood

$6K raised in one day’s time for family of woman gunned down in Penticton

GoFundMe launched for family of Darlene Knippelberg, to pay for funeral costs and other expenses

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Most Read