Elected officials are being told to turn up the volume against a proposed oil pipeline.
More than 100 people rallied in front of MLA Eric Foster’s constituency office Wednesday to speak out against the Northern Gateway plan to pipe oil from Alberta to B.C.’s coastline for exporting.
“(Premier) Christy Clark has set some good guidelines but there needs to be a stronger voice and to say no,” said Dianne Perrier, event co-ordinator.
“We want to show all of Canada and Enbridge that we’re an unbroken chain in defence of B.C. We don’t want our environment destroyed by oil.”
Three generations of the Blain family was present.
“We do not need environmental degradation,” said Heather Blain.
“Oil should be refined in Alberta and then sent back east where they import oil.”
Sylvia Johnson was living on Malcolm Island when a freighter leaked oil, causing challenges for commercial fishermen.
“It sure created a mess on our island. Human error does happen,” she said.
The rally was dominated by protest signs and people shouting out their views about a pipeline and tanker traffic along the coast.
“It’s the largest intact rainforest in the world and we can’t risk it,” said one man.
While proponents of the project say the pipeline will create much-needed jobs, Perrier believes there are alternatives.
“We can create jobs if we refine the oil at the tar sands. We can create jobs by providing Canada with oil. Why are we importing oil?” said Perrier.
Foster defends his government’s handling of the Enbridge issue.
“The premier has laid out strong criteria for us to get on board and they will have to meet it,” he said.
“But to just say no before the (regulatory and public input) process is completed would tell anyone looking to invest in B.C. that the doors are closed.”
Foster says he hasn’t decided if the pipeline plan is positive for B.C. or not, and he will wait until all information has been gathered.
“There are a lot of financial pluses but there’s a cost to everything,” he said.