Welcome to this community-driven BROKE Report. Gung Hay Fat Choy! BROKE has been here on these unceded territories for nine years, and our list of accomplishments is EPIC. We are one part of this large movement, and here are some recent highlights.
A small percent of pipeline pre-construction has started provincially, and may be about to start more actively in Burnaby. So let’s go for BROKE and take one last kick at the can. We can stop this project we are named after (was Kinder Morgan Expansion, hence the K + E in BROKE – Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion). Of course years forward there will still be work to do with decommissioning old pipelines that are buried beneath our unsuspecting feet. We may be distancing, but we sure are connecting.
Get in touch: we need your ideas, pictures, research, and feet on the ground to expand our networks and stop this pipeline.
Social Movement to STOP Trans Mountain Reconfigures.
Opposition to the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline (TMX) has been alive for more than a decade. Tsleil-Waututh first said NO in 2011 and mobilizations followed, with 100+ arrests in 2014. In 2018 there were 230+ arrests and thousands marching and blockading – vowing to “do what it takes,” that is until Trudeau made an extraordinary and costly error and purchased the project. Now our municipal and Indigenous allies have exhausted every legal avenue possible.
Have you heard that since August 2020 the movement opposing this pipeline is fiercely reigniting in Burnaby and beyond? Occupations, sacred fires, arrests, creative activism, and even one more doctor-initiated legal case, that for the first time aims to consider the downstream effects of actually burning the bitumen. And it’s getting national attention.
Despite an epic multi-year battle, the tree-protection laws of our Burnaby Municipal government were sadly overpowered last week (Feb 2). Can the company really cut the trees and use the land without municipal approval? Well… depends who you ask. “It is not only a federal matter, it is very much a community matter. We are the community at the end of this pipe, and we still say no,” says Elan Gibson, a BROKE Spokesperson.
BROKE was frustrated to be excluded from the recent negotiations. “We believe our concerns are shared by many residents and that, more than the provinces of Canada, we deserve a seat at the table when deciding what happens to our trees.”
Non-consensual negotiating is a strong pattern we are seeing across the region. Metro Vancouver felt pressured and “had no other choice” except to say yes to TMX. Coquitlam was powerless and forced to accommodate TMX. And Burnaby claims TMX is bulldozing the tree removal permit process. More on this to come in a future BROKE Report.
Like a spark in dry tinder, the news of 1308 Trees – slated to be cut in Burnaby alone has struck a chord with residents. The article from the Jan 8, 2021 Burnaby Now states clearly that “the city opposes removal of trees on city lands at the proposed access points.” And communities are responding.
The 1308 Trees Project invites everyone to write a letter or make some art FOR and TO the trees, even a specific tree if you wish. 1308 Trees is worth following on other social media, and even send your letter to Trudeau and TMX CEO through this easy tool.
Living in a Tree
Land Protectors began occupying trees near the Brunette River along the pipeline path this summer, and have successfully held off clearcutting. This video shows a sweet tree-house that was unfortunately seized and destroyed by TMX enforcers on Dec 9. Another tree-house was quickly built and has been occupied throughout the winter: 7 weeks now, and construction has been held off. Thank you to the brave occupants and dedicated grassroots support community! It’s great to see on record that the City of New West supports the Tree Camp.
Says a tree protector: “we’ll keep coming back because our commitment to delay construction of this disastrous project remains unchanged. Our future depends on it. My future depends on it.”
Economically it’s a Lemon
TMX is a bad investment and will lose money for Canadians. The Canadian Government’s own oil industry regulator (CER) projects there may be no economic need for TMX. And cancellation of the Keystone XL may be close to the final blow for our dirty Albertan oil patch. More gory details (technical) (in other words) (just bad please stop). Divestment campaigns continue against TMX.
Put Your Thinking Caps On
We are seeing many creative ways to take action by individuals and grassroots groups on the ground along the pipeline route. Local Indigenous legal challenges have been swallowed by Canadian state legal institutions, but this is not the end of the story. Tsleil-Waututh’s Will George of Protect the Inlet says they support those taking direct action.
Here are BROKE’s Ideas for Safe Creative Tactics (Feb 2021). In essence, this is a person to person education movement, so educate yourself and then talk to a friend about it. We welcome your collaboration. If you or your group has ideas for the movement in the current context, get in touch with us or share by coming out to an event…
STOP TMX Families For the Future – Monday, Feb. 15 – all day – EVENT LINK. It’s Family Day. Get outside with your family (or bubble) and visit the proposed pipeline route. Make a sign and share a selfie as you Show Your Stand. See link for details and route location. Suggested hashtags to use: #StopTMX #FamilyDay #FamiliesfortheFuture or the classic #WaterIsLife
Stoney Creek Pipeline Route Tours – Monday, Feb. 15 – 10am-1pm – EVENT LINK. As part of STOP TMX Families For the Future, bring the kids and drop in for a 20min tour around Stoney Creek and the pipeline route through and over it.
People’s Assembly: Protect the Planet Stop Trudeau’s Pipeline (Virtual) – Tuesday, Feb 23 – 7-8:30pm – EVENT LINK. Get up-to-date on stopping TMX. We will discuss different campaigns and highlight current needs of the movement. Connected and empowered to plan for the future, that’s how we are most effective. Co-presented by BROKE and PPST.
Sign a Petition or Write a Letter to the Editor
Trudeau and TM CEO: Love Letters to 1308 Trees
Metro Van decision-makers: Protect Colony Farms
Finance Minister Freeland: Cancel Trans Mountain
Canadian Banks: Stop Funding Fossil Fuel Companies
Trudeau, Wilkinson, Freeland: Time to Face Facts on TMX
BC Health Minister Dix: Pipelines Not Essential: COVID on Mega Projects
After chaining themselves to trees near the Brunette River to stop them from being cut down this December, one protestor, grandfather Yvon Raoul “said he hopes his actions will not only ensure a better environment for his three children and seven grandchildren, who range from two to 17 years old, but to make them proud. Asked if he feels like he’s accomplishing that, Raoul immediately answers:
“Oh, yes, of course. We’ve got a very tightly knit family, and I’m so proud of that. And this is part of their education. It’s giving them a sense of value of being human beings and living in a society where cooperation, solidarity and gentleness is part of life,” Raoul said.
“I taught my kids to live like that, and they are applying it not with words but in reality and practice. They are walking the talk. And I am walking the talk and doing what I’m supposed to do.”
You need it. It needs you. We are looking for researchers and correspondents for the BROKE Report. Plus we love feedback.