Less than 12 hours after Justin Trudeau’s finance minister announced the taxpayer buyout of Kinder Morgan’s 65-year old pipeline, thousands stood up in a show of force against the Canadian government’s move to give the Texas-based oil company $4.5 billion for the leaky pipeline.
Indigenous leaders are preparing to escalate their frontline opposition in the face of the federal purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“This is the moment in history where Justin Trudeau has revealed that he never cared about Indigenous rights or reconciliation,” said Will George, Tsleil-Waututh member and spokesperson for the Coast Salish Watch House. “The cost that they did not calculate in their $4.5 billion purchase is that Indigenous frontlines will stop this pipeline.”
“The Watch House will continue to stand in the way of pipeline development, and I will continue to meet the responsibility passed on to me by my ancestors to protect the water and land,” continued George.
After months of escalating action at Kinder Morgan’s construction sites, the company issued a deadline to the federal government to contend with the growing on-the-ground resistance to the project. Water protectors and land defenders are celebrating their collective power in forcing Kinder Morgan to back away from the doomed pipeline, and now Indigenous leaders are urging the federal government to stand down and begin meaningful strides toward respecting Indigenous Title and Rights.
“Despite all this insanity that Justin Trudeau is speaking, the answer is still no, we will never allow a pipeline to come through British Columbia and harm our Inlet,” said Tsleil-Waututh Elder Ta’ah Amy George.
Over 200 people have been arrested since March for opposing the pipeline and defending the water, land, and climate. Indigenous leaders and grassroots organizers expect that number to grow exponentially if the federal government attempts to ramp up construction. Outrage at the federal decision has spurred urgency among residents to take direct action against the tar sands project, with over 25,000 people pledging to do “whatever it takes” to stop the pipeline.