Protestors rail against oil pipelines
(from the IEN website)
Crowds in Smithers, BC watched as more than 100 protesters marched Friday afternoon from the Ministry of Forestry building on Tatlow Road and continued marching down Main Street to the CN Building on Railway Avenue.
Their topic of contention: Pipelines.
"We don’t need no – CN Rail pipe!" the protestors shouted. "Hey! Enbridge! Leave our lands alone!"
First Nations from as far as Ontario, North Dakota and Alberta joined members of the Unist’ot’en of the Wet’suwet’en, who organized the march to protest the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
Protesters also voiced their opposition to a natural gas project by Kinder Morgan, a North American transportation company that plans to transport natural gas from Alberta to BC using CN Rail lines.
"We’re standing up for our salmon, our wildlife, and our wild areas," spokesperson Sue Deranger said. Deranger is a member of the Chipewyan Nation in Athabasca, Alberta, where the oil sands are. "My nation has been destroyed by the tar sands," she said. "We didn’t know. But you know what’s coming, so let’s stop the pipelines!"
Deranger said that oil sands development has spread cancer throughout her community. A nine-year-old boy died from brain cancer last month, a death she attributes to the oil sands.
Friday’s protest was the first in a series of planned protests, Freda Huson, spokesperson for the Unist’ot’en people in the C’ilhts’ekhyu Clan, said. The Unist’ot’en Chiefs have never ceded rights to that land, and they will continue to fight, she said.
The protests are a good way to show support for all surrounding nations, Huson added.
Wayne Thom, who watched the protests march down Main Street, said he fully supported the protest.
"We don’t need that pipeline," he said. "It will destroy the region."