The Enbridge pipeline won’t be running anywhere near Penticton, but that isn’t stopping a local group from organizing a protest outside MLA Bill Barisoff’s office on Wednesday.
“We’re not one of the affected communities and we don’t live on the coast, but the effects of a pipeline and the disaster of an oil spill resonate across the province,” said Candis Davis, who is organizing the event.
The local event will be mirrored in 55 communities across the province, continuing the work started with a rally on Monday, which drew an estimated 3,500 people for a day-long protest on the lawns outside the B.C. legislature in Victoria.
It’s an idea that was developed and implemented by a pair of organizations — Dogwood Initiative and Leadnow.ca — coming together.
“The idea is people are rallying outside the MLA offices across the province to show solidarity in our opposition against increased tanker traffic on the coast and the introduction of tanker traffic on the north coast and this Enbridge pipeline,” said Davis. “Our goal is to maintain and legalize the moratorium on tanker traffic on the North Coast.”
That moratorium, she explained, was put in place in the 1970s because the seas in that area are difficult and dangerous to navigate.
“There are many spots, especially in the Douglas Channel, where we couldn’t buffer the land quickly enough to prevent oil from being washed up,” said Candis, who sees the moratorium as a way to block the concept of pipelines. “If we can legalize the moratorium on tanker traffic, then to where are they going to build pipelines?”
One of the people planning to attend the rally is local artist Glenn Clark, who has been working on a project documenting the land that will be affected should the Enbridge pipeline proceed. For the rally, though, he’ll be bringing along his van, which he’s been using to conduct a rolling poll as he has travelled to Vancouver and northern B.C. for his documentary project.
He’s been encouraging people in communities along the way to take a black permanent marker and sign his van, in response to an Enbridge-sponsored poll that showed 48 per cent of the province supported the pipeline project.
“So far, mine is about one per cent. I have about 500 signatures on the back,” said Clark, adding that there are about six signatures on the front of the van from people supporting the project.
“It was time to jump out and be a voice, so many people are quiet,” Clark continued. “It’s standing up to bullies really. And I kind of like the idea of our B.C. coast line being tanker free. If one of those tankers goes down, it’s over up there.”
Davis explained that this isn’t a protest in opposition to the B.C. government, who have yet to offer full support for the pipeline concept.
“We want to keep this in the public’s mind that this project is still on the table,” said Davis. “We need to continue being critical of the project.”
The rally takes place Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. outside MLA Barisoff’s offices at 300 Riverside Dr. in Penticton.