The protesters’ breath came out in clouds as they chanted, “No remissions on our emissions,” on the shaded sidewalk in front of Liberal MP Andy Fillmore’s office.
The 42 protesters stood on the sidewalk expressing their disagreement with the Liberal government’s approval of the oil company Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline project. Some protesters held signs that read slogans such as, “Soil not oil,” and, “People not pipelines,” while others showed their support simply by being present.
The protest was organised by Katie Cavanaugh and Kaitlyn Firth. According to Cavanaugh, a former environmental student at Dalhousie University, the protest was organised to draw attention to the environmental concerns posed by the pipeline.
“We need to move off of non-renewable energy sources and onto renewable and clean energy sources. Otherwise, we aren’t going to be able to prevent global warming the way we want to,” said Cavanaugh.
The project will expand the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, raising its capacity to 890,000 barrels of oil per day. According to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, the expansion is estimated to add a further 14 to 17 megatonnes of GHGs to the atmosphere annually.
“The economy only matters if we have a world to live in.”
Cavanaugh also wants to raise awareness about the Trudeau government’s disrespect for the rights of First Nations people as described in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Liberal Party’s policy resolution on respecting aboriginal rights states that Canada currently follows the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but has yet to implement it; though it, “urge[s] the next Liberal government,” to do so. The declaration states that the government requires the freely given consent of the First Nations communities affected in order to build a pipeline on their land. According to Cavanaugh, 12 First Nations communities have spoken out against the pipeline.
When she first heard about the pipeline, Cavanaugh says she “felt a little bit betrayed, because Trudeau stressed throughout his whole campaign, that he was going to make sure that communities wanted the pipelines before he ran them, and so many communities spoke out against this.”
King’s student Lily Barraclaugh also believes that the government has been going against their promises.
“I think that the federal government has been saying a lot of really great stuff and making a lot of promises, and I’m not seeing them follow through on their promises in terms of climate change and electoral reform and other issues,” said Barraclaugh.
Representatives from Greenpeace were also present along with Dr. Thomas Trappenberg, the leader of the Green Party of Nova Scotia.
Trappenberg believes that approving pipelines is holding back our economy by investing in old technology.
“We are, again, losing out to really build the new economy, and our kids have to suffer,” said Trappenberg.
“This is why I am here, because I want my children to also to have opportunities, and they are denied by investing into old technologies. We are losing out.”
After a few speeches were made using a megaphone, the protestors marched over to the Halifax City Hall and congregated on the steps.
The Watch contacted MP Andy Fillmore for comment, but he did not respond.