Defend Our Coast Northern Gateway Protests Planned Across BC

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Protests like the one on Monday in Victoria are planned for 60 B.C. communities as part of the "Defend Our Coast" day of action. (Jonathan Hayward, CP) | CP

VANCOUVER - Organizers of this week's large pipeline protest outside B.C.'s legislature are giving people an opportunity to rally in their own communities by targeting the offices of politicians in all corners of the province.

Sit-ins or rallies are planned Wednesday for the offices of NDP and Liberal MLAs, including the premier and leader of the opposition, as part of the Defend Our Coast day of action in at least for 62 communities.

The rallies follow Monday's protest at the legislature in Victoria, which drew thousands of pipeline critics who are opposed to plans to build and expand oil pipelines by Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) and Kinder Morgan Inc.

"We're trying to, you know, sort of draw attention to the fact that all of these pipelines are a bad idea," said Ben West, a spokesman for the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, who is co-ordinating a protest at the office of NDP Leader Adrian Dix.

West said protesters want to pressure Dix, who has already taken a stand against the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, into taking a similar stand against the twinning of a Kinder Morgan pipeline.

"It seems like a position they should be able to take," he said.

Kinder Morgan Inc. has applied to expand its pipeline, which moves oil from Alberta to the West Coast via the Trans Mountain network, crossing southern B.C. to a refinery and port in Burnaby.

Regulatory hearings into a plan by Enbridge to build an 1,100 kilometre dual pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast have adjourned for one week in Prince George, B.C., and will resume Oct. 29. The dual pipeline would carry bitumen for shipment overseas while pumping condensate back to Alberta.

The Liberal government has taken an aggressive stand against the pipeline and outlined five demands that must be met before the province will consider co-operating with the pipeline.

Environment Minister Terry Lake has also criticized the company for a lack of detail in its spill-response plan.

But while the provincial government and Clark have been "ratcheting up" their rhetoric against the Northern Gateway Pipeline project, Liberal politicians have not gone far enough, said West.

"She's definitely not getting the message that, you know, that people don't think any amount of money is going to change this conversation," said West of the premier.

It will be up to politicians to decide whether the day of action becomes a conversation or remains a protest, said West, noting he's heard some MLAs plan to hand out refreshments.

Many of the events are slated for noon but the demonstration in Prince George is planned for 5 p.m., while protesters will gather outside Environment Minister Terry Lake's Kamloops constituency office at 3:30 p.m. (CKOR, CFTK)

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