A group of about 50 protestors gathered in front of North Okanagan-Shuswap Conservative MP Mel Arnold’s Vernon constituency office Friday afternoon in protest of Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion through British Columbia.
“We want our local MP to talk to the government and tell them to withdraw their support for the Kinder-Morgan pipeline,” said Bill Darnell, an organizer of the local demonstration.
“It’s bad in so many ways — it affects our fresh water here in the Thompson river, it will affect the Salish Sea, and probably the worst is that all this oil is going to burnt and it will become more greenhouse gasses and at this point, Canada is not on track to meet the commitment we made in Paris.”
Co-organizer Gail Pifer echoed Darnell, adding that he protest was also part of an effort to stand in solidarity with the “Indigenous people of Canada.”
“Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau promised us that he would do something about climate change and the production of fossil fuels and get Canada on track to a greener country.”
As part of their effort to discourage his support of the pipeline, Darnell said the organizers intended to deliver a sample of water collected from the B.C. coastline to Arnold, along with a petition.
While they learned that morning that Arnold was away, Pifer said the group had instead planned to leave the sample and petition with the MP’s staff, whom were expected to be in the office during the time of the protest.
The staff was absent, and a note was posted on the door stating that the office, which is typically open between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., was closed for the day “due to illness.”
“It’s disappointing,” Pifer said upon realizing the office door was locked.
“But I’m glad for the support we have here today.”
The group opted to leave some of their placards behind along with the water sample in hopes that Arnold would take note and meet with them upon his return.
The occupation of the office was not the only Trans Mountain event on Friday. Vernon’s was one of 50 taking place across Canada as part of the National Day of Action to Defend the Water.