Protestors in Cranbrook joined thousands across the province Wednesday outside MLA Bill Bennett and MP David Wilks’ offices Wednesday for the Defend our Coast day of action.
The protest followed demonstrations in Victoria on Monday that gathered thousands at the B.C. Legislature to oppose pipelines proposed by Kinder Morgan and Enbridge.
In Cranbrook, the Ktunaxa word for earth, ?amak, was chanted over the honking of car horns as the gathered protestors linked arms to symbolize an unbroken wall of opposition. Adrienne Campbell was one of the organizers of the local event. She said the protest was in solidarity with residents all over the province.
“It’s different communities taking up one voice to have a stronger message,” she said, adding that Cranbrook residents could be affected by any fallout from the proposed pipelines. “We eat the fish that comes from the coast. We don’t just live here.”
Campbell, a mother of two from Kimberley, was joined by her daughter Finlay at the protest. She said she had a duty to leave a better province for future generations.
“I want to leave a community and a province young people can enjoy,” Campbell said.
Ktunaxa Nation Chair Kathryn Teneese attended the rally Wednesday, speaking to the crowd and chiming in with calls of ?amak.
“This situation not only affects Northern British Columbia, but all of B.C.,” Teneese said. “We want to protect our wild and diverse province for our children.”
Campbell said there were a number of different people at the protest, and the pipeline issue is one that spans many diversities.
“I think that crosses all boundaries and all diversities,” she said. “It’s powerful seeing this many people come together.”
In the crowd was a new Kimberley resident, Anisa, who held a sign that read “My hometown is not for sale. I love Kitimat.” The seven-year-old said she use to live in the Northern B.C. community that is the proposed end point of the Northern Gateway Pipeline before moving to Kimberley a year and a half ago.
Teneese said the Ktunaxa Nation supports their fellow First Nations in Northern B.C.
“We stand in solidarity with First Nations organizations and other British Columbians,” she said. “I think it is critical that our message of concern is delivered to both levels of government. Today it’s the north – where next?”
For more information on the day of action visit www.defendourcoast.ca.