KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – People gathered in Halifax’s Victoria Park to protest the pending approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. In last night’s frigid rain they held signs and candles to stand in solidarity with protests and actions occurring across the country against the pipeline’s looming approval.
Participants came from a wide background. Groups of concerned citizens, members of Indigenous communities, and local activists involved in organizations like 350.org, the Council of Canadians, Solidarity Halifax, and the Ecology Action Centre, made the Victoria Park plaza seem crowded.
To many attendees, the pipeline’s approval would be a betrayal of the Liberal government’s promise to treat climate change seriously, and a failure to officially recognize the rights of Indigenous peoples over their lands and resources. One participant voiced her emotions about the decision saying “I feel disappointed and hopeless, but I feel encouraged by everyone here.”
While handing a talking stick around, individuals expressed concerns about climate change and how it relates to oil and gas infrastructure projects. Hannah Mills, a local student activist and organizer of the event, emphasized that “climate change is happening now, but if we continue to build fossil fuel infrastructure and continue to burn fossil fuels it will become catastrophic.”
While the event focused on the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the recent brutal police attacks on peaceful protesters in North Dakota became central to the vigil. The images of people being hit by rubber bullets, and videos of hundreds freezing at sub-zero temperatures while being dosed by water cannons, were on the minds of everyone there.
During the discussion, the group collectively observed a moment of silence to honour the water defenders of Standing Rock Sioux Reserve, who are on the front line of resistance to tar sands expansion.
Mi’kmaq activist Annie Clair, who had just returned from a stay at Standing Rock, followed the moment of silence with an impassioned speech.
“This is not just about one pipeline, it is about all of the pipelines.Climate issues are not just about my people, it’s about every one of you people,” she said.
Organizers suggest that if you have concerns about climate change or the Kinder Morgan pipeline to contact Halifax MP Andy Fillmore at 902 426-8691, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Those concerned about the attacks in Standing Rock are encouraged to contact the US Consulate General in Halifax at 902 429-2480
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