Land defenders chain themselves to construction site for Government of Canada-owned Trans Mountain pipeline
Open trench construction for the Government of Canada-owned Trans Mountain pipeline near Pipsell (Jacko Lake) is underway despite the opposition of land defenders.
Global News notes: “Trans Mountain initially agreed to a costly, less-invasive method known as micro-drilling to dig under and around the lake… But in September, the company went before the Canada Energy Regulator to argue that its method was technically unfeasible and far too costly. The regulator sided with the company.”
In late-November, Carolyn Henry, an Indigenous Elder from the Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation, stated: “We don’t want (anything) disturbed around that lake. It is in our territory — on unceded territory.”
At 8:29 am ET this morning, journalist Brandi Morin tweeted: “Two Land Defenders have chained themselves to scaffolding leading into Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion’s boring tunnel in a sacred Secwepemc territory called Pipsell.”
At 9:04 am she added: “The lane defenders descended to the bottom of the boring hole and threw tobacco into the pipeline tunnel.”
Then at 9:16 am: “Trans Mountain Pipeline Security now on scene. Told me police on the way and that we are all going to be arrested. I informed him we are documenting the land defence action & as journalists are allowed to follow protestors into an injunction zone. Trudeau does not want to arrest me, reporting on a publicly owned pipeline violating Indigenous rights/ not a good look.”
9:41 am: “TMX security waiting for police to arrive to arrest land defenders chained to scaffolding over the boring hole”
10:57 am: “The land defenders unchained themselves & walked back to the sacred fire. No police. Apparently on their way to arrest them for violating the injunction”
2:38 pm: “RCMP arrived to serve the injunction at the Secwepemc sacred fire. No charges pressed against anyone. Cree Land Defender Khursten Bullock then burns the injunction in the sacred fire.”
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The Trans Mountain expansion project will nearly triple the capacity of the existing pipeline to 890,000 barrels a day.
The Trudeau government first approved the pipeline on November 29, 2016.
By May 29, 2018, the Trudeau government, including then-Environment Minister Cahterine McKenna, announced it would be the existing pipeline for $4.5 billion and that up to $7.4 billion could be spent on building the expansion.
The expansion costs, however, have now quadrupled to $30.9 billion and could rise further.
More than $3.6 million has also been spent between 2017 and fiscal year-end April 1, 2023, on policing (repression) by the controversial C-IRG unit of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) of peaceful protests resisting the construction of the pipeline.
The current Environment Minister, Steven Guilbeault, was sworn-in into office on October 26, 2021. He is now at COP28 in Dubai.
On April 29, 2022, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on Canada for a third time to stop the construction of the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline until it had secured the consent of the Secwepemc.
That call, and the previous two on December 13, 2019, and November 24, 2020, have been ignored by the Canadian government.
We continue to follow this situation.