On October 3rd, the new BC government announced that they would continue to defend the provincial approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline in court.
The Squamish Nation are arguing that they were not properly consulted before the BC government approved the environmental assessment certificate for the project. Many people in the environmental movement see the Squamish case as one of the strongest avenues for stopping the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and we were frankly shocked and concerned to hear that the new government would not be using this powerful tool to help stop the project.
Last spring, Force of Nature volunteers helped to get out the vote for Rick Glumac, Katrina Chen, and Janet Routledge, mobilizing hundreds of votes in three key swing ridings. A major motivator for our volunteers and our supporters was commitments from each of these candidates to act as an environmental champion for their communities and to oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline. For example, Katrina Chen stated that she would fight Kinder Morgan “till the end of time.” During the election, and since it, the NDP committed to “using every tool in their toolbox” to stop this pipeline.
This past week, Force of Nature teams from each riding met with their MLA to hold them accountable to these promises and to ask them why, if they are truly committed to stopping this project and to reconciliation, the BC government will not be withdrawing from the Squamish lawsuit.
We spent an hour with each MLA, and felt that they were listening to our concerns. They told us that the government has consulted with many lawyers about the Squamish lawsuit, and was advised that they did not have legal grounds to step back from the case. We were reassured that this court case does not seem to signal a change in policy for our government or for our three environmental champions: they are still committed to stopping the Kinder Morgan pipeline. However, we remain concerned that the NDP’s position on Kinder Morgan has weakened since they took power, and we know that our supporters and volunteers will not be satisfied unless this government truly does everything possible to stop the pipeline.
Our teams ended the meetings by asking their MLAs to connect with Attorney General David Eby and Minister of the Environment George Heyman to share our ongoing concerns. We will continue to hold these MLAs accountable for their promises to help us stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline as we move forward.