11/21/2014 02:19 EST | Updated 01/21/2015 05:59 EST

Dear Rich Kinder, All I Want Is A Safe Place To Call Home


I am a 16-year-old Vancouverite and I am outraged by what CEO Rich Kinder of Kinder Morgan allowed to happen in my backyard of Burnaby, B.C. on Thursday. Over 20 protesters were arrested for refusing to move from their camp on Burnaby Mountain.

The City of Burnaby formally opposes the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but the company, along with the National Energy Board, continues to ignore the the fact that they are unwanted in the community.

The injunction that took effect on Monday sends the message that Kinder Morgan has the jurisdiction to suppress the protesters who are exercising their rights as Canadians. I, along with many others, am questioning the legitimacy and the enforcement of Canadian democracy in a situation where a company has more of a voice than citizens.

These events mirror those of the Clayoquot protests of 1993; we are repeating history.

I need Rich Kinder to know that we deserve the right to speak our minds. He needs to hear from the generation that will be most affected by his work. By the time I am his age, our world will be radically different than it is today.

It is completely foreseeable that we will not be relying mainly on oil by then, and it would be an economic disaster if we had to make a sudden shift to green energy; not to mention the risks associated with oil transportation and a continued increase in carbon emissions. Now is the time to stop investing in fossil fuels and to start investing in renewable energy.

Rich Kinder needs to open up dialogue with the protesters and listen to the youth. He is meddling with our future and I am letting him know that we are not OK with that.

This is my open letter to Rich Kinder:

Dear Rich Kinder,

My name is Jacqueline Lee-Tam.

I am a reasonable 16-year-old girl from Vancouver

And all I want is a safe place to call home,

Clean air,

Clean water...

These people, they are here for that too.

Mr. Kinder, I want you to stop oppressing my voice

You are not listening to the people who will be directly affected by your work --

You have cut off the path of dialogue.

The power dynamics here are skewed, Rich Kinder.

You are besetting my generation with your messes to clean up,

You are forbidding us from standing up for ourselves

You are stripping us of our voices

And you are profiting from all this...

Aren't you already a billionaire anyway?

In 40 years, when the oil from the world's major reserves run out,

we won't be relying on it anymore.

We won't be able to.

That is a demand from our planet for us to start shifting to sustainable energy

Oil is finite

So why are we making it our livelihood?

Rich Kinder, if you are planning on plaguing my home with your oil, take a look at who will be cleaning up your mess.

I am speaking for the youth who will be cleaning up our coastline

Listen to our voices.

It is not a matter of if there will be a spill, it is a matter of when.

Give us our voices back,

Let us speak

Open your eyes

Mr. Kinder, my future is in the palm of your hands and I have no say.

You are standing above us all,

But how in the world can I look up to you?

The system is skewed, Rich Kinder, it is not a fair game.

We will not be at peace until you treat us as equals.

Rich Kinder, open up the path for dialogue. Give me my future back, you've taken enough away from us.

I'll be waiting for your phone call.


Jacqueline Lee-Tam


Photo galleryKinder Morgan Pipeline Protest, Fall 2014 See Gallery