Anti-pipeline protesters shut down access to Trans Mountain’s Westridge Marine terminal in Burnaby Monday morning but no one opted to be arrested under a recently expanded court injunction aimed at demonstrators.
A small group holding a banner blocked the entrance to the terminal for the first time since B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Affleck agreed to do away with a 10-minute window the original injunction had allowed for protesters to comply before arrest.
Sara Ross, one of the demonstrators blocking the road, said Monday was “just the right place, right time” for her to risk testing the new order.
“A $1,500 fine, a $5,000 fine, seven days jail time – it’s irrelevant compared to the severity of the consequences, which is a threat to clean water and land and air and future generations,” she said.
Two trucks headed for the terminal were turned back during the protest.
As a few dozen other demonstrators drummed and chanted a short distance away, the small group blocking the entrance held its ground until Burnaby RCMP read out the injunction order and began its five-step arrest process – the final step of which is arrest – with each protester, one by one.
Each demonstrator left the road before officers got to the final step.
“It’s after noon, and they didn’t get as much work done as they would have without us,” SFU health sciences professor Tim Takaro said of Trans Mountain and what the demonstration had accomplished.
Takaro said he was angered by the federal government’s recently announced plan to pay $4.5 billion to take over the pipeline expansion project, which he called “immoral.”
“We know that we can’t build new, large fossil fuel infrastructure and meet our commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, so it’s immoral for them to have now taken the risk on for this project, which is an environmental risk, it’s a health risk, it’s a business risk, and they did it without our consent,” Takaro said.
Since Affleck first approved an injunction banning protesters from coming within five metres of Trans Mountain sites, Burnaby RCMP have arrested 202 protesters for violating it.