Anti-poverty advocate and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson was defiant as she prepared to serve jail time. She'd broken the law for violating an injunction while protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion.

"I’m dressed for jail. I have thick socks for shackles," said Swanson, who is running for city council in Vancouver's upcoming municipal election. "I have a jacket for a cold basement. I have a lightweight blouse for a hot four hour car ride.”

Seven taken into custody for protesting Trans Mountain pipeline

She and former B.C. Teachers’ Federation president​ Susan Lambert spoke at a news conference that was held outside of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Swanson, 75, Lambert, 68, Sachiko Gyoba, 74, Hisao Ichikawa, 77, Heather Martin-Mcnab, 57, Kathleen Flaherty, 66, and Adrian Long, 30, were taken into custody this afternoon to face a seven-day jail sentence.

They were all arrested on June 30 for blocking the construction site at Kinder Morgan's Burnaby Mountain tank farm. The women expressed opposition to the Texas-based energy giant's $9.3 billion project, which the federal government has agreed to purchase in order to assure its completion. If built, Trans Mountain would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline to ship up to 890,000 barrels per day of heavy oil from Alberta to the west coast through a slightly modified route. Proponents say the project will bring jobs and economic growth to Alberta and B.C., while critics say it will push Canada's climate goals out of reach.

Former NDP MP and current mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart, who did not deliver any remarks, also showed support to the women at the press conference this morning. He was arrested in March along wtih Green MP Elizabeth May for violating Kinder Morgan's injunction.

Swanson questions the laws allowing Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

Speaking to reporters, Swanson criticized Ottawa's multi-billion dollar purchase of Trans Mountain assets from Kinder Morgan.

“Laws can be bad,” Swanson said. “Laws permitted slavery. Laws permitted the theft of Indigenous land. The laws that let the Trudeau government buy this pipeline are bad laws.”

Lambert added, “I respect the rule of law. But I also know, through personal experience, that laws are sometimes unjust, and sometimes unlawful. And right now, we have a standoff between the state and the people on the issue of the environment.”

Jean Swanson and Susan Lambert protesting and being arrested at the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion site in Burnaby, B.C. on June 30, 2018. Photo by National Observer

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi commented on Thursday that the project was, in their view, in the "national interest."

"The right to peaceful protest is at the foundation of our rights and freedoms in Canada and we respect that right," he said in an email. "We accept a diversity of views and opinions with respect to Canada’s energy future, but we expect people to express their views peacefully and in accordance with the law.

We remain committed to working with provinces, territories and Indigenous peoples to ensure a strong economy while taking leadership on the environment.

Our goal now is to ensure this project moves forward to create economic benefits for Canadians. We would not have approved this project if it were not in the national interest."

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Comments

Good for them. I wish I had the time and courage to join them in these protests. But they are so far from my home in Ontario.

They are modern day heroes. So sad that Justin Trudeau is now an oilman. His legacy? Lies...in my humble opinion.

Double, double, toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
from Macbeth

Double, double, oil and trouble;
Fossil fuels* burn, spread like rubble.

*petrol, diesel, jet (kerosene), propane, methane, coal, RMG, RMK, ...

There could be an army of seniors out there, willing to make one last stand for their kids and grandkids. With a few dozen more of us, it could be an interesting week in jail.

Makes more sense than that other aritcle....'how to protect your children from wildfire smoke'......
On a rapidly warming planet, there is no way....

As Bill McGibbon said recently: time to transition, divest and most important of all, KEEP IT IN THE GROUND.

The Minister said: "Our goal now is to ensure this project moves forward to create economic benefits for Canadians. We would not have approved this project if it were not in the national interest."

Create "economic benefits"? -- At what cost to the environment and the future wellbeing of Canadians and those living beyond our borders who will also be impacted by our GHG emissions? He does not say. Why then should we accept his word for what is in the "national interest", against the word of climate scientists and responsibly informed others who have spoken out against economic growth at any cost?
Whom do you trust?

Too true...and there'd very likely be a big economic loss too for "our" oil pipeline, if it were ever built ( which fortunately is highly unlikely)

The more govenment ministers try to rationalise and defend the continued exploitation of the tar sands and the pipeline that should evermore stand as a last gasp, fraudulant, infamy of the ENRON era; the more perfectly Orwellian is the double-speak of the unholy alliance between the oil/gas oligarchs and their captive governments. Canada is not, of course, the only hogtied govenment. Although Trump in his vainglory may believe he has them under his thumb, the truth is they are playing him like a broken harp and even Putin with all his thuggish petro tentacles will collapse like a punctured baloon if his source of wealth dries up. The entire Middle East with its oil resources is in an apocalyptic frenzy fighting amongst themselves for survival. No doubt the worst of them will win. Does it ever occur to anyone that when the world gives up its petro crutch we just might erase the biggest source/enabler of lethal conflict?

The courts of BC and the judges enforcing these injunctions and sending these people to jail for opposing bad laws by way of civil, non violent, disobedience should be ashamed.

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