WATCH: Cheif Bobby Chamberlain of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation addresses protesters
With files from Niamh Anderson
Hours after the federal government gave the go-ahead for a controversial pipeline expansion, several hundred demonstrators have gathered in downtown Vancouver to voice opposition.
Protesters say they’re angry at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for approving Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which will triple the amount of crude currently being shipped from Alberta to a tanker terminal in Burnaby.
Packing signs with slogans like “keep it in the ground,” chanting, and drumming, the between 200-300 protesters made for a much smaller crowd than the estimated 2,000+ who turned out earlier this month, taking over downtown streets.
Union of BC Indian Chiefs vice president, Chief Bob Chamberlin described the decision as a betrayal.
“Some people have two faces and I think that we’re seeing that today. When I consider the election promises of this government and the commitments that were made after the election to First Nations people, the decision today does not reflect that,” he said.
He added that while Ottawa may have given the go-ahead, Trudeau doesn’t get the last say on the decision.
“I have every confidence that this is only the beginning of a very long struggle for this government. I cannot see the Kinder Morgan pipeline being built, it’s that simple,” he said.
After speeches, the crowd took to the street and marched, chanting, to the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Today’s protest may be a sign of things to come. Back in 2014, protesters descended on Burnaby Mountain where Kinder Morgan was conducting exploratory drilling.
Demonstrators set up a camp on site leading to a tense months-long standoff, that included allegations of assault and a number of arrests.
Ottawa today gave final approval for the $6.8-billion expansion, but shot down another contentious B.C. pipeline proposal, the Northern Gateway.
Last May, the NEB approved the project, subject to 157 conditions.
British Columbia must still give its own approval. Premier Christy Clark has laid out five conditions for that green light, but has yet to comment on how close Kinder Morgan and the Federal Government are to meeting them.