Mason Buettner, Contributor Ω
Approximately 150 people rallied outside the office of Terry Lake, Kamloops-North Thompson MLA, to oppose the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project on Oct. 24.
The rally was a part of Defend Our Coast’s day of action, where 75 communities and over 7,000 people rallied at MLA offices across the province, according to Calvin deGroot, Defend Our Coast outreach coordinator and Capilano University student.
Defend Our Coast is a coalition of different environmental and social justice groups from across British Columbia.
“The purpose of the decentralized actions all over B.C. was to harness the momentum from the rally in Victoria,” deGroot said. “We kept Defend Our Coast in the media for four days. We wanted to prolong the movement.”
Monday saw 4,000 people gathered on the lawn of the B.C. Legislature for the Defend Our Coast day of action that led to Wednesday’s province-wide rallies. In total approximately 11,000 people attended the two separate days of action against the pipeline project according to deGroot.
Maude Barlow, author, activist and chairperson of the Council of Canadians, made a special appearance and spoke to the crowd at the Kamloops rally. Now 65 years old, Barlow was still able to ignite the crowd.
“The answer for all of us is to stay strong, to defend our coasts, say no to the pipelines, no to tankers and to say to these energy companies when they come to our territories: you will not pass,” she said.
A number of TRU students attended the rally.
Drew Dochstader, an adventure guide diploma student, took the microphone and shared his support of Defend Our Coast with the crowd. According to Dochstader, the adventure tourism students are very knowledgeable on the subject and concerned for the future.
“We have an extremely strong tourism industry and for that to be destroyed would be a huge blow to the British Columbia economy,” Dochstader said. “It would even jeopardize the program at our school. Our future is at stake.”
Dochstader would like to see a greater response from TRU students.
“If we put our numbers together it could really be a deciding outcome for us to really make a difference,” Dochstader said. “People underestimate the power of the human voice.”
Anne Grubbe, Kamloops rally organizer, discussed the next step for those in opposition to the pipelines and tankers.
“The government is thinking that these people will just give up after a while, but I don’t think they will,” she said. “There will be more opposition.”
“It’s definitely not over yet, it’s really just the beginning,” deGroot said. “We are getting louder and the more our politicians refuse to listen to us, the louder Defend Our Coast will get.”
Updated: Oct. 28, 2012 at 3:17 p.m.