American pipeline protesters demonstrate outside Trudeau meetings

By The Canadian Press
February 9, 2018 - 11:00am

SAN FRANCISCO — Opposition to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline has followed Justin Trudeau to sunny California, where protesters demonstrated Friday outside the hotel where the prime minister was holding meetings with top state officials.

About a dozen protesters made up of local climate change activists held signs demanding Trudeau reverse his decision on the project, chanting anti-pipeline slogans from across the street.

Three of the protesters briefly got inside the hotel and demonstrated with their backs up against the wall directly outside the room where Trudeau met with California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Trudeau has given no indication he's willing to back down from the project, pledging to get it built one way or another.

One of the protesters, Vanessa Butterworth, said Trudeau must to back up his talk about protecting the environment and climate by rejecting the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

"If you want to be a real climate leader, you're going to have to live up to your Paris agreement and say no to Kinder Morgan or the communities are going to shut it down," said Butterworth, who is from Toronto.

The message was different than the one Trudeau received inside the stately hotel first from Brown, and then his deputy Gavin Newsom, who is a favourite to replace Brown at the end of the Democrat's term.

During staged photo-ops, Brown said his state and Canada had much to do while the White House was "temporarily missing in action in terms of climate action." Newsom thanked Trudeau for his leadership "at a time when that's not lost on many of us in the political sphere out here."

California and more than a dozen other states have moved ahead with carbon pricing schemes, including a cap-and-trade system with Ontario and Quebec. Brown said he wants to forge other agreements with various provinces, and push for growth in zero-emission vehicles.

Tensions around the development of the controversial $7.4-billion pipeline project escalated last week when the B.C. government announced plans for more consultations on oil spill readiness and a limit on increased diluted bitumen shipments until it can be confident of response measures.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer asked for an emergency debate on the pipeline impasse, but deputy Speaker Bruce Stanton told him the issue does not meet the criteria.

"The House of Commons should discuss all options in order to put an end to this crisis," Scheer said in French in the House of Commons.

Earlier during question period, Kim Rudd, the parliamentary secretary for the minister of natural resources, said Canada won't let B.C. kill off the pipeline.

"Any decision by the B.C. government to limit the flow of bitumen through the pipeline would be outside the province's jurisdiction," Rudd said.

Protester David Turnbull, with Oil Change International, said Americans are also worried about what could happen to the waters along their western coast if Kinder Morgan is built.

"The Kinder Morgan pipeline, if it was built, would increase the tanker traffic along the west coast, including in the United States along Seattle's bay as well," Turnbull said.

"We're concerned that the Kinder Morgan would both imperil our climate and also imperil our coast lines as well."

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press

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