RCMP arrested more protesters on Burnaby Mountain Friday, after Kinder Morgan moved in heavy equipment the night before.
Among the arrested were Burnaby resident Ruth Walmsley, retired teacher Yvon Raoul and Lynne Quarmby, one of the five protesters named in Kinder Morgan’s multimillion dollar civil suit. The protesters were arrested for violating a B.C. Supreme Court injunction prohibiting people from interfering with Kinder Morgan’s survey work for a new pipeline route.
Quarmby, a molecular biology professor at SFU, spoke with media Friday morning, criticizing the lack of consultation with First Nations and slamming the Conservative government for stripping environmental protections from the NEB Act.
“We have a process that does not allow for the consideration of climate change in the evaluation of a major fossil fuel project at a time when climate change is the biggest problem facing humanity,” Quarmby said. “That’s unethical.”
Quarmby then turned to subject of civil disobedience.
“It’s done in full respect of rule of law, but it’s also done as a serious responsibility of being a citizen in this country,” she said. “So I’m going to turn around right now, and I’m going to walk up that hill, and I’m going to be the best citizen I can be.”
And with that, Quarmby marched up Centennial Way and lifted the yellow police tape, along with Raoul, Walmsley and Burnaby resident Suzanne Crawford. They stood behind police lines, facing down the RCMP, awaiting their arrest.
In all, police made eight more arrests Friday, bringing the total to 34. Most have been released with a promise to appear in court and stay out of the injunction areas on Burnaby Mountain. Five were scheduled to appear in court Friday.
For the most part, the arrests have been peaceful, although James Keller from the Canadian Press filmed police yanking an elderly woman back and throwing her to the ground. Josh Paterson, executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, was on Burnaby Mountain Friday as a legal observer. Paterson is already expressing concerns that excessive force may have been used.
“It did appear that yesterday there were some incidents of roughness between police and protesters,” Paterson said. “We’re going to be reviewing that as the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and trying to speak with the people involved to see if they wish to file complaints in relation to the way they were treated.”
Staff Sgt.-Major John Buis of the Burnaby RCMP was not aware of the video, but he did say police did not want to arrest anyone.
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan is urging residents to avoid arrest.
Corrigan, who once said he was prepared to stand in front of a bulldozer to stop Kinder Morgan, is trying to keep the fight in the courts.
“Meanwhile, I encourage all Burnaby citizens and supporters not to do anything that will place them in harm’s way or subject them to arrest or lawsuits,” Corrigan said in a statement released Thursday evening. “In addition, I do not want our police officers to be hurt or abused for doing what they are required to do by order of the Supreme Court of B.C. They are not there because they support the court decision.”
Corrigan also said protesters could lose public support “by exceeding the bounds of peaceful dissent.”
Meanwhile in Ottawa, Burnaby-Douglas MP Kennedy Stewart rose in the House of Commons and called for Kinder Morgan to stop work on Burnaby Mountain. Like Quarmby, Stewart blamed the Conservatives for the conflict.
“The government’s changes to the National Energy Board Act have completely removed the ability of British Columbians from having any voice in how this massive energy should proceed through our community,” Stewart said, adding the vast majority of these protesters were not radicals. “They are parents, grandparents, university professors, teachers, students and home owners. They are on Burnaby Mountain because they feel their community is threatened and they have no other way than protesting to voice their concerns. Mr. Speaker, as the Conservatives have abandoned Burnaby and British Columbia, I’m calling on Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson to cease his current activities on Burnaby Mountain and not force local police to arrest my constituents.”
That plea seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as Kinder Morgan moved heavy equipment in overnight. Much of the protesters’ camp has been dismantled, and about 30 people remained on the mountain Friday morning.
Kinder Morgan is surveying Burnaby Mountain for a new pipeline route that would connect the tank farm to the Westridge Marine Terminal. It’s all part of the $5.4 billion plan to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline, which runs oil from Alberta to Burnaby.
© Burnaby Now