Press Release Update- For Immediate Release: Jan. 27, 2023
3-4 Weeks and $1,240 Restitution: Young Women Punished for Peaceful Protest Against Trans Mountain Expansion
Səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), Kwikwəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and Xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations (Vancouver, BC) - Two young women have been sentenced to three and four weeks in jail and $1,240 restitution for playing badminton in a Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) injunction zone. The sentencing represents both an escalation in severity as well as a duplicity from the Courts/ TMX not previously seen.
Maya Laframboise and Emily Kelsall were sentenced to 21 days; Kelsall received an additional 7 days for donning a dinosaur head mask and defiantly roaring at the judge at the conclusion of her court appearance. They were also given a restitution fine of $1,240 between them, to be paid to TMX for stopping work for 20 minutes. The young women, both 24, were taken into custody and will be transported to the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women.
In her statement, Laframboise said, "As Metis people, we are Otipemisiwak, the people that own ourselves, governed by the value of wahkohtowin, our kinship to all our relations. I have been taught by my Elders to always act with the next Seven Generations in mind. By allowing this pipeline to go through despite opposition from First Nations and despite the threats it poses to destroy our nonhuman relations and the lands and waters across BC, we are not living by the value of wahkohtowin nor thinking seven generations ahead. I am Otipemisiwak and so I am required by my history and culture to fight for what is right, just like my ancestors did."
In her statement, Kelsall said, "I'm proud to join the ranks of activists, land defenders and water protectors who have come before me and served time in jail. TMX must be stopped and it's apparently up to us ordinary T-Rexes and other citizens to make this happen. Judge Fitzpatrick says that if we disobey the law, chaos will occur, but if we do not stand up when the law is wrong, even greater chaos will occur as emissions continue to increase."
Both defendants expressed solidarity with Indigenous peoples in defending land and water. TMX crosses and threatens to destroy many sacred sites, which Indigenous peoples have cared for and stewarded since time out of mind, and on lands never ceded to the Crown via Treaty. The Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is opposed to TMX, along with many First Nations along the pipeline route, including Secwepemc'ulecw and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Their concerns have never been addressed.
The duplicity of the case is disturbing. On May 11, 2022, the young women were charged with mischief for their 20-minute T-Rex badminton match; in October 2022, the charges were changed to criminal contempt of court. Enforcing the injunction off-site and months later is a new development in Trans Mountain's weaponization of the courts. Whereas standard protocol of injunction enforcement by RCMP is a 5-step process, which involves reading the injunction aloud and granting the opportunity to leave the site, this did not occur on May 11.
Unbeknownst to the defendants at the time, Trans Mountain had been granted an amendment to its injunction, effectively cancelling the 5-step process for TMX cases. Not only did the young women not hear the injunction being read (it was waved at them), but after they voluntarily left the worksite they were threatened with "physical harm" and prevented from leaving the area by Trans Mountain security until RCMP arrived.
The escalation of sentencing underscores the hard line that Judge Shelley C. Fitzpatrick follows to deter peaceful protest against the federal fossil project. Lacking regard or compassion for age, indigeneity or public concern about TMX, "Stone Cold Shelley" appears to be taking orders from Trans Mountain and its owner, the Government of Canada.
Media Contact: Cassie Wells • (604) 725-4964 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Resources: At mega.nz
MEDIA EVENT - FOR IMMEDIATE ` - Jan. 26, 2023
Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project as a Case-study
continues to spend billions of dollars expanding our fossil energy
infrastructure. For example, the cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline
expansion has ballooned from $4.5 to $26 billion
government in 2018. It
public works project in Canadian history. This panel will examine
some of the hidden costs of such
Indigenous rights, title
health and social
costs through increasing emissions and future costs associated with
selling the project in a world transitioning away from fossil energy.
In reviewing the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project prior to approval, the Canadian government did not allow consideration of the project's downstream climate impacts. Other health and environmental risks were accepted as significant but over-ridden by the national interest. This multi-disciplinary panel of experts will discuss these often hidden and overlooked economic, health and social costs. The panelists include, Kevin Cromar, Professor of Environmental Medicine and Population Health at New York University Grossman School of Medicine, Erin Hanson, manager of the Sacred Trust Initiative and policy advisor at the Tsleil- Waututh Nation in their Treaty, Lands and Resources Department. Chloe Hartley, policy analyst with the Sacred Trust Initiative, Eugene Kung, staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law Association and Marc Lee, senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and co-director of the Climate Justice Project.
In his address to the World Economic Forum last week in Davos, UN Sec. General Antonio Guterres said, "Today, fossil fuel producers and their enablers are still racing to expand production, knowing full well that their business model is inconsistent with human survival. This insanity belongs in science-fiction, yet we know the ecosystem meltdown is cold, hard scientific fact."
The first "People on the Inlet", the Tsleil-Waututh, whose unceded lands make up the pipeline terminus did not consent to the project. As panelist Erin Hanson notes, "Tsleil-Waututh's deep understanding of the lands and waters in and around Burrard Inlet span thousands of years and many generations. [Their] longstanding management of the ecosystems and resources therein transcend the jurisdictional siloes that often constrain and limit federal and provincial environmental governance today."
"Trans Mountain has been hiding its full financial picture through corporate shells and accounting wizardry, " said Eugene Kung another panelist. "Now it looks like the Federal government is preparing to forgive $17 Billion in debt owed to Canadians by Trans Mountain in order to maintain the illusion of commercial viability - another massive subsidy for oil companies. But the largest cost may be to Canadian democratic institutions, which have been eroded and manipulated as a result of Petro-politics."
Panelist Marc Lee notes, "The panel also show how the project is a money loser and contributor to climate disasters. If TMX successfully expands Alberta's oil production, it will spur additional carbon emissions that will cause future damages. Economists call this the social cost of carbon.,. TMX symbolizes the contradictions in Canada's climate policy. Never have Canadian politicians spent so much for so little, and at the wrong time."
Prof. Michael Schmitt, organizer for the climate action group SFU Faculty for Future, says "Faculty and students at SFU oppose TMX, and we are excited that this event will educate people on the many costs of TMX and other fossil fuel projects".
Event: January 26, 2023, 6:30-8pm. Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 W. Hastings St. Vancouver and on-line
MEDIACONTACT: Stephanie Hall,
for Dialogue -
Press Release- For Immediate Release: Jan. 27, 2023
Two young women face jail time for peaceful protest against Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline
səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations (Vancouver, BC) - Two young women are jail for suiting up in inflatable dinosaur costumes to obstruct construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline. On 11 May 2022, Emily Kelsall and Maya Laframboise dressed as Tyrannosaurus Rexes to play a comical and peaceful game of badminton in a TMX injunction zone in Burnaby, BC. Months after the incident, their charges were changed from "mischief" to "criminal contempt of court", a clear signal that Trans Mountain is intensifying its use of injunction law. The young women face three weeks in jail.
Kelsall and Laframboise, both 24, are part of "T.Rex Against TMX," a group of land and water defenders who intermittently block TMX construction while dressed in inflatable dinosaur costumes. They often appear at rallies carrying signs with slogans like "Keep Me In The Ground" and "Leave My Bones Alone," a reference to the fact that tar sands bitumen is made of fossilized dinosaur remains. The group blends comedy and environmental activism, posting videos on TikTok and Instagram to document their opposition to the expansion of the Alberta tar sands; some videos have gone viral. The T.Rexes hope to help humans avoid mass extinction like the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
"The TMX pipeline is an atrocity," says Kelsall. "Canada is acting criminally by ignoring Indigenous rights and climate science. I've concluded it's up to ordinary citizens, like me, to rise up. Someone needs to act on behalf of humanity and reason. I'm proud of what the T.Rexes have accomplished, yet there's so much more to do. I don't want to go to jail, but I'm ready."
The young women were initially charged with mischief. In October 2022, however, the Crown and Trans Mountain raised the charges to criminal contempt of court, an entitlement of injunction law. Kelsall and Laframboise were shocked by the new charge, as RCMP did not follow the standard 5-step process of injunction enforcement, which involves reading the injunction aloud and granting the opportunity to leave the site. Unbeknownst to the defendants, Trans Mountain had been granted an amendment to its injunction, effectively cancelling the 5-step process for TMX cases.
"We aren't criminals. We care deeply about humanity and the well-being of future generations," says Laframboise. "It's disturbing to experience the weaponization of the courts via injunction law. While I worry about the impacts this may have on my life, I'm glad I'm doing it with a friend."
Laframboise, who is Red River Metis, explains, "The Canadian government and fossil fuel industry are criminalizing peaceful dissent and leveraging the police, courts, and prison systems to repress people from standing up for clean water, a healthy biosphere, and a safe future. The majority of Canadians are opposed to spending more money on TMX. Yet our tax dollars are being siphoned into the skyrocketing cost of construction, and wasted on the incarceration and criminal trials for peaceful land defenders desperate to transition off oil and gas!"
In April 2022, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, "climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals. But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels... investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness."
Since the TMX injunction was imposed in March 2018, more than 250 people have been arrested for criminal contempt. Most people were ordered to serve community service hours or pay fines of up to $3000, but more than three dozen people have been sentenced to between 4 days and 6 months in jail for taking a peaceful stand against TMX. Recent high-profile cases include Will George, a Tsleil-Waututh land and water defender, and Dr. Tim Takaro, a public health expert and SFU Professor Emeritus. The T.Rexes anticipate a sentencing of 3 weeks.
Media Contact: Emily Kelsall • (778) 871-6127 • email@example.com
Media Liaison: Cassie Wells • (604) 725-4964 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Release - For Immediate Release December 6, 2022
New Indigenous camp blocks TM pipeline construction in Burnaby
səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm - A multi-billion dollar pipeline company continues construction, and a grassroots group of land defenders persists in resistance.
On Sunday December 4th, 2022, a full three years after the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion was originally expected to be completed, a Teepee was erected on an unfinished part of the pipeline route on Coast Salish lands. The Teepee belongs to Ramona Shirt - Cold Lake First Nations. This part of the Brunette River is home to the endangered Nooksack Dace and Western Painted Turtles. The new camp represents the undying resolve of land defenders to protect the planet and stop this pipeline.
Protect The Planet has erected numerous camps along the pipeline route that have delayed the construction of the pipeline, which is now 3 years behind schedule and at least $14 billion dollars over budget. Four years ago, members of the Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations with support of the NGO community , constructed camps and a Watch House directly beside the Burnaby Mountain Tank Farm, garnered National attention and attracted thousands of protestors. Not long after these mass demonstrations and arrests, Kinder Morgan announced they were dropping the project and the Canadian Government bought it.
"Canada ranked 58 out of 63 countries on the Climate Change Performance Index, behind the United States and China." Emily Kelsall, an occupant of the camp, states. "Our performance is abysmal and our actions run counter to science, ethics and our international commitments on climate change."
According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, New investments in Oil and Gas are incompatible with limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The finished TMX pipeline would transport 560,000 additional barrels of oil per day from Alberta to Burnaby, BC and increase tanker traffic seven-fold in Burrard inlet.
Supporters of indigenous solidarity and climate action are encouraged to come out and visit the camp. Donations of food and supplies are always welcome. "The most important thing is that people take this opportunity to raise their voice for what they believe in." Khursten Bullock, another camp resident, explains. "The Canadian Government is behaving tyrannically. They're acting as if the lives of people and the well-being of nature as a whole is secondary to corporate interests and the never-ending need for profit."
For the background and more information see the PDF below.
Press Advisory - For Immediate Release: December 3, 2022
Artists and Activists Assemble to defend Burnaby Mountain and Protest the Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline Expansion Project
Unceded səlilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Territories (BURNABY, BC) - A Festive Hug brings more love to Burnaby Mountain! On Sunday, December 11 Indigenous leaders and other supporters of Protect the Planet and partners will combine art and activism to stand against the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project. Attendees will make earth friendly decorations and display them in trees between Kwekwecnewtxw: the traditional Coast Salish Watch House and the gates to the Trans Mountain tank facility. There will be an Indigenous welcome ceremony, speakers, musicians and artists.
When: Sunday, December 11, 2022, 11am to 3pm
Where: Forest Grove Park, Burnaby 200 Soccer Field (8505 Forest Grove Dr, Burnaby, BC)
Why: The inaugural Hug the Mountain event in May 2022 drew hundreds of people to Burnaby Mountain to convey a powerful message of shared concern for Mother Earth. The Festive Hug will continue this message following COP27 and the government's dismal efforts to address the climate crisis.
As Dr. Kate Tairyan of Protect the Planet explains: "The Canadian government and its Trans Mountain Expansion project threaten our collective future and survival, the pipeline expansion activities on Burnaby Mountain pose a direct risk to the residents, homes, schools and the fragile ecosystem of the surrounding urban forests and salmon-bearing creeks. We must protect Burnaby Mountain for future generations by stopping this deadly project now. We invite all caring people to join our voices in this festive season and show the world that our love for the Mountain is forever and pipelines have no place in the future we envision for our kids and communities!"
The TMX project was purchased by the federal government from oil giant Kinder Morgan in 2018. Construction for the project is taking place across the unceded territories of many Indigenous nations without their consent. Its operation will triple the amount of diluted bitumen transported from the Alberta tar sands to Burnaby - to 890 000 barrels per day - resulting in dangerous increases in global emissions. Burnaby Mountain is a highly impacted site of TMX construction. It hosts the Burnaby Terminal (a collection of flammable storage tanks) and the Burnaby Mountain Tunnel through which the crude oil pipeline will run. Students, faculty and staff of Simon Fraser University and nearby schools, residents of Burnaby, and the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster all oppose TMX.
For more information about the background, see the PDF below.
For Immediate Release, November 28 2022 Burnaby, BC
NIGHT OF A THOUSAND DUCKS: Hundreds of Ducks Halt Construction at Trans Mountain Work Site
In yet more evidence that migratory patterns are being disrupted by global climate change, an unusual interruption caused work on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) to be delayed yet again. Early this morning, approximately 250 secondhand rubber ducks were found scattered around the pipeline worksite at Government Road near Stoney Creek in Burnaby, having flown in sometime during the night. As per Trans Mountain's safety policies, the presence of suspicious objects meant that work had to stop while the ducks were investigated.
The presence of the ducks was not an accident. "This whole situation is completely absurd," said Carolyn Dawn, a local friend of ducks who was out for a run that morning. "The Canadian state is failing abysmally at keeping its climate commitments, and yet they have poured $21.3 billion and counting into a fossil fuel project that will not turn a profit for decades, if ever, through unceded Indigenous territory. COP27 just wrapped up, and while Canada remains one of the lowest performers in the Climate Change Performance Index, Justin Trudeau did not even attend the conference. In the midst of all this absurdity, what are a few rubber ducks?"
Actions like the mysterious trespassing ducks also have material impact. The more interruptions take place, especially interruptions that are clearly the work of opposed residents, the riskier the investment becomes and the more investors will pull out. "This pipeline has now been dropped as too risky of an investment by 19 different insurance companies and rising. Yet the Trudeau government continues to pour billions of dollars in to keeping it afloat despite impending climate catastrophe," said Dawn. "The project is already confirmed to be unprofitable. I hope that comrades of all species will continue to do our part to keep it that way."
For interviews, please contact: C. Dawn at 204-808-1707
See video of Trans Mountain Workers cleaning up the duckies here.
See the Press Release PDF below.
Press Release October 31, 2022
Three arrests made at Stoney Creek Greenway
səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations (Burnaby, BC) - At 7am this morning, three water protectors camped beside Stoney Creek were given notice that they would be arrested if they did not leave the site. Five minutes later, police arrived to forcibly remove and arrest them. Supported by a wider community, these water protectors had been observing and monitoring work on the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline, concerned about its effects on the salmon run in the adjacent creek.
Khursten Bullock (35), Lorne Salter (76) and Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta (79) were all arrested for criminal contempt of court. This has been the primary charge used by Trans Mountain against land and water protectors since 2018 when it received an injunction for its work sites. However, the campers were not in the injunction zone, but rather on the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail, a wide gravel greenway trail.
Speaking in a video after her arrest, Khursten Bullock said that she feels good about being arrested because this is one "way of showing people how dire the situation is; how important it is to fight for clean water and these fish for our future children. It is so important."
Speaking in the same video, Lorne Salter said he was not expecting to get arrested. "There were no [injunction] signs on the Greenway and I was just carrying on observing the way I have been, and I wasn't going to leave anybody behind." Both Salter and Bullock had camped along the Coquihalla River in August to observe that salmon run and the catastrophic impact of Trans Mountain's excavation work there.
Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, who lives locally, was removed from the site by RCMP on a roller chair. She said, "This high pressure pipeline is so dangerous, at all points and segments! While I may be motivated by NIMBYism, my actions are for the benefit of all." She has been arrested several times in opposing TMX in Burnaby: twice in 2021, once in 2018, and twice in 2014. On two of those occasions, she was released without charge.
Trans Mountain destroyed the old camp, taking the wooden tent platforms campers had bought and erected themselves. A new camp has been set up further along the Greenway under the Lougheed bridge and supporters are welcome to visit and learn more. the Greenway trail is still open from East Lake drive.
Lorne Salter • 604-352-6463 • email@example.com
Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta • 604-444-4690 • firstname.lastname@example.org
For the full press release see the PDF below.
Press Release October 31, 2022
Perfect Storm: Spawning Salmon & Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), kʷikʷəƛ̓əm (Kwikwetlem), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations (Burnaby, BC) - A perfect storm has arrived to Metro Vancouver. Along with the first atmospheric river of the year, Chum salmon returned to spawn in Stoney Creek just as Trans Mountain is proceeding with drilling. A forest defenders' camp along the Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail was set up to monitor, witness and report, while celebrating salmon.
Over several cool, wet and blustery days, citizens have kept watch over the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline in Burnaby. They're camped in tents on the Greenway beside Stoney Creek, with an aerial camp in the trees serving as "watchtower". They are here to keep an eye on TMX, which is proceeding with construction despite the salmon spawning and despite the atmospheric river that's dissolving the freshly deforested hillside. By monitoring and documenting infractions, they intend to hold Trans Mountain accountable.
Lorne Salter, 76, a campaigner with Protect the Planet, has been camping in a tent adjacent to the TMX worksite since Monday October 24th. "When I heard things were ramping up here [at Stoney Creek] I had to come, I couldn't stay away." Salter, who lives on Gabriola Island, describes the timing of the salmon run, TMX drilling, and the campers' arrival as fate-like. "Trans Mountain has been here for over a year, getting ready for this work. They started using their massive drill on Wednesday, and the salmon started arriving that same day."
Stoney Creek is considered a miracle in urban stream restoration. Thanks to volunteer stream-keepers, in 2004 salmon returned to the creek after 50 years' absence. It is one of the few urban streams where spawning salmon can be observed up close. It is home to coho (Oncorhynchus kisutch) and chum (O. keta), as well as threatened or endangered species such as Nooksack dace, steelhead trout, and western brook lamprey.
Khursten Bullock, 35, who has been camped alongside Salter for more than five days, explains: "We've watched huge Chum work their way upstream, through shallow water, up waterfalls. It's miraculous! Yet Trans Mountain doesn't even pause to acknowledge the run. Similarly, our governments fail to acknowledge the conflicts bred by fossil fuel projects."
Bullock has one request: "We want people to come and see what's happening here. Witnessing a live salmon run is amazing, and watching a run beside TMX construction is equally impressive. With so much misinformation circulating online, it's important that people come to see what's going on with their own eyes."
Lorne Salter • 604-352-6463 • email@example.com
Christine Thuring • 604-725-4964 • firstname.lastname@example.org
For the full press release see the PDF below.
Protect the Planet and their allies are back in the trees above Burnaby today
Media contacts: Dr. Tim Takaro, Protect the Planet, (604) 838-7458, email@example.com and Jef Bradshaw, (604) 803-1537 firstname.lastname@example.org
Xwməθkwəy̓ə m (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ Burnaby, BC. Protect the Planet and their allies are back in the trees above Burnaby today. The land defenders are there to protect Stoney Creek and monitor the Trans Mountain pipeline construction at this iconic stream. The revived salmon-bearing Stoney Creek is being crossed by the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) Project near the new Tree-Sit which is on public land.
In addition to disastrous environmental harms, the TMX Project is continuing to cost billions of taxpayer dollars every year and will be a money loser in the future if it is ever completed. The courts continue to criminalize and imprison climate defenders who take action, violating the rights of individuals to peacefully protest under the Charter.
Photo credit - Ocean Shagor
For Immediate Release: October 3, 2022
Secwepemc Hereditary Chief and Secwepemc Matriarch Among Four to BeginWeek-long Contempt Trial Today
Water Protectors Arrested for Opposing the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion in 2020 Face Jail Time
Unceded Secwepemc territory (Kamloops, BC) - Today, four water protectors will begin their week-long trial at 10am. They include Secwepemc Hereditary Chief Sawses; Secwepemc matriarch April Thomas from hereditary blood lines of the snare tribe; Billie Pierre from the Nlaka'pamux Nation; and Senior Environmental Engineer, Romilly Cavanaugh, former Trans Mountain employee. The water protectors are being tried for criminal contempt of court and each of them face jail time. The four were arrested two years ago in October 2020 near Trans Mountain Pipeline's construction sites in Secwepemcúl'ecw beside Sqeq'petsin (The Thompson River). This will be the first time the Crown has tried members of the Secwepemc Nation for criminal contempt for opposing the pipeline in their own territory.
The Secwepemc Nation has not been consulted and has never given consent for the Canadian Federal Government's Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) to proceed and cross waterways that are the lifeblood of the Secwepemc Nation. Once teeming with wild salmon and now experiencing the lowest run numbers since records have been kept, the toll that industry and unchecked development is having on Secwepemc Territories is increasingly more evident.
As a result of the lowered count number and the lack of appropriate Nation to Nation relationship between Canada and the Secwepemc, a sacred fire was lit in October 2020 and an invitation for meeting and discussion was offered to all involved parties. Instead of meeting with the Nation, the RCMP were deployed and on two separate occasions, while ceremony was being conducted, brutally arrested Indigenous Women and Elder Hereditary Chief Saw-ses.
Four additional water protectors arrested in Secwepemc territory on a different date in October 2020 are scheduled to go to trial for criminal contempt starting December 12, 2022.
"Secwepemc laws and authority supersede Canada's laws. The Secwepemc have never ceded, surrendered, sold, or signed away our lands and waters," said April Thomas. "Canada is in a conflict of interest regarding Trans Mountain Pipeline since it owns the company and also regulates it, while the BC court enforces an injunction to halt ceremony and quash peaceful protest against the pipeline expansion. Actions taken by Canada against the sovereign Secwepemc and Nlaka'pamux peoples for protecting our land and water are a continuation of Canada's genocide of Indigenous peoples," says Thomas.
"Why is the burden on us to prove to anyone, under threat of incarceration, why we were on our own territories conducting ceremony? Why have the Courts, the Province nor even the RCMP never had to prove their title and justification, legal or otherwise, for being here; for taking away and murdering our children; for polluting our waters and killing off our salmon?"
Hereditary Matriarch, Miranda Dick, says, "Indigenous People are the Canary in the Coal Mine when it comes to Raising Awareness of the Climate Crisis. This Pipeline has caused undue Hardship to Our People. The destruction of trees, wildfire, and floods cause further displacement."
Billie Pierre, from the Nlaka'pamux Nation, says, "I went to Sqeq'petsin in 2020 because where I'm from, our fish catches have dwindled since the Mt Polly tailings rupture in 2014. Whatever happens upstream impacts us. People used to be able to catch 100 salmon a year, and now often don't get any at all. Trans Mountain Pipeline laid out spawning deterrent mats years ago, and last month was drilled near Hope BC during a salmon spawn".
Photos: All by Ocean Shagor
For more information, download the full PDF below.
Media Advisory September 16, 2022
March and Rally to Protect Stoney Creek from the New Trans Mountain Pipeline and Celebrate Watch House Elder Jim Leyden's 70th Birthday
Protect the Planet, Climate Convergence, Mountain Protectors, and BROKE* Rally to Oppose New Tar Sands Infrastructure. Anjali Appadurai, Climate Champion and NDP Leadership Candidate to speak.
xwməθkwəy̓ə m (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ Burnaby, BC - The revived salmon-bearing Stoney Creek in Burnaby is slated to be crossed by the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) Project. Saturday, several groups will march and rally to protect this beloved spot, and to kick-off a fall offensive aimed at halting the TMX project and expansion of the Alberta tar sands. Speakers at the rally include Anjali Appadurai, NDP Leadership Candidate and Climate Champion, Squamish Elder Robert Nahanne and Indigenous salmon teacher, Tim Henry. There will be music, banners and a chance to visit one of the last remaining salmon streams on Burnaby Mountain.
When and Where: Saturday, September 17th. Pre-rally birthday celebration at 1:30pm (9110 Avalon Ave., Burnaby). Rally at 2:30pm (8765 Government St., Burnaby).
In addition to TMX's wanton disregard for endangered species and habitat, the project is continuing to spend billions of taxpayer dollars every year with completion dates pushed into the future. To meet Canada's climate commitments to the United Nations we must shrink emissions from the oil and gas sector, not increase them. "New funding for fossil fuel exploration and production infrastructure is delusional. Fossil fuels are not the answer".
For more information, see the PDF Media Advisory below.
For Immediate Release: September 12, 2022
"Human-caused wildfire" near Trans Mountain worksite raises questions, watchdog calls for investigation
Unceded Nłeʔkepmx Tmíxʷ (Nlaka'pamux), S'ólh (Stó:lō) and Stz'uminus Territory (Hope, BC) - Southern BC's last days of summer were clouded by thick smoke from an "out of control" wildfire. The Flood Falls Wildfire is suspected to be human-caused. Protect the Planet is calling for an investigation into Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline as possible cause.
The Flood Falls Wildfire rages behind Trans Mountain's pipe storage area at Laidlaw. Image: Protect the Planet
The Flood Falls Wildfire was discovered southwest of Hope on Thursday Sept. 8 and was soon declared out of control. By Sunday, it had grown to 458 hectares and enlisted 54 BC Wildfire Service firefighters, the Hope Fire Department and six helicopters. The blaze is on a steep forested slope above construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline. See video. The fire was suspected to be human-caused from the start.
Rod Marining, Chair of BC Environmental Network, said, "Whenever I've stopped by a TMX worksite, there are always people smoking cigarettes. Given the proximity of the fire to an active TMX work site, Trans Mountain should be investigated as a potential cause of this wildfire". Research conducted by the University of the Fraser Valley in 2019 concluded that "cigarettes were the primary cause of fires in BC and Alberta."
Dr. Kate Tairyan of Protect the Planet, who lives in Hope, said, "On two occasions on Saturday, we passed by the Floods area (off Highway 1) and both times we saw excavators and other equipment being moved off site (see video). It's ironic that Trans Mountain is feeling the heat, given this pipeline will exacerbate and lock us into irreversible climate change."
You can download the PDF below.
For Immediate Release: August 30, 2022
Local environmental groups fighting to save a sensitive wetland near Bridal Veil Falls
Unceded Xwchiyo:m (Cheam) Stol:o Territory (Chilliwack, BC) - In an effort to save a small but important wetland, three local environmental groups are once again requesting that the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) reverse an earlier decision that permits Trans Mountain (TM) to install the pipeline through the wetland. In order to preserve the environments for the many important species that currently live and thrive in the wetlands, the groups have requested that the CER order TM to install the pipeline under, not through, this delicate terrain. See the Notice of Motion here.
Trans Mountain has denied a request from these environmental groups to allow independent biologists into the wetland to document species at risk in the area. The groups' lawyer, Ian Moore, made the request in writing several weeks ago. "This seems like a cover-up by Trans Mountain", said Peter Vranjkovic of Protect the Planet (PtP). "While they claim to have all the important information, we found several errors and inconsistencies in their environmental plan and have requested that independent biologists go to the site and investigate the discrepancies."
The three groups hired two biologists who were able to provide feedback without actually going into the wetland. The first biologist, Aimee Mitchell provided a report showing that there are several important species either federally "Threatened" or "Endangered" in the Critical Habitat located in Bridal Falls and the connected waterways: Coastal Giant Salamander, Barn Owl, Pacific Water Shrew, Oregon Forestsnail and the Roell's brotherella Moss. In addition to these species, the Red-legged Frog and Coastal Tailed Frog, both designated federally as "Special Concern", were also sighted.
The second independent biologist observed an abundance of birds in and around the wetland, including woodpeckers, western tanagers and juvenile house finches. Sofi Hindmarch noted that "the wetland has several larger snags with cavities suitable for woodpeckers and smaller owls, such as pygmy, saw-whet and Western screech-owls. The open grassy areas within the wetland are also suitable as barn owl hunting habitat. Overall, the habitat in this wetland is of high value to migrating and residential birds".
The value of this small area is even more crucial now that the neighbouring lands have been clearcut. In addition to nesting birds and amphibians, the area also has mature trees and rare species of plants, all crucial to threatened barn owls and other birds.
For more information, see the PDF of the Press Release below.
For Immediate Release August 11, 2022
Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction threatens spawning salmon
Unceded Nłeʔkepmx Tmíxʷ (Nlaka'pamux), S'ólh Téméxw (Stó:lō) and Stz'uminus Territory (Hope, BC) - BC wild salmon are being harmed by pipeline construction near Hope. Normally the run is a wondrous sight, but today Hope residents and local First Nations are horrified that the salmon-bearing Coquihalla River has heavy machinery and industrial pumps in the river, while an early run of spawning salmon is blocked by the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline project. Many fish found dead at the site had eggs in their bellies.
Bob Chamberlain, Chair of First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance told City News, "I thought we were well past having machinery operating in a river when salmon were going by". Aerial footage submitted to Protect the Planet clearly captures the many fish trying to pass through the TMX obstruction. See drone footage.
The salmon run may be early this year, but the fish remains an important icon of life in the province, and at the centre of Indigenous cultures. MPs, Ministers and Trans Mountain are being asked why this work is happening now. Protect the Planet has invited fisheries Minister Joyce Murray and other representatives to meet with a delegation of concerned First Nations and citizen representatives next week on the river in Hope.
In an open letter to Ministers Murray, Wilkinson, Guilbeault and Miller, four BC MPs, Barron, Kwan, Julian and Zarrillo expressed their concerns and called to, "intervene and halt construction of the TMX pipeline expansion at a minimum until the salmon have spawned and the salmon run is safely complete. The future health of wild Pacific salmon species and Pacific ecosystems, and the human, animal, and plant life they support, may depend on your actions in this."
Since Protect the Planet first alerted the Department of Fisheries (DFO) and Oceans on August 1, the Coquihalla River has been obstructed by heavy machinery in the river at the construction site and the water turned from crystal clear to muddy brown. DFO officers responded to Protect the Planet and residents' alerts after a week of work had passed and DFO biologists were reported to have visited the site on August 9, only after Trans Mountain intensified its in-water work on a Sunday, August 7. Dr. Takaro, an SFU professor emeritus in environmental health noted, "I described to the DFO officer Aug. 1st the urgency of the destruction at the pipeline crossing site. Why did it take a week for the first officer from Chilliwack to arrive?"
After visiting the site on August 10, 2022, Cedar George-Parker of Tsleil-Waututh First Nation said, "The sacred salmon are the latest victims in the Trans Mountain Pipeline's path of oppression and destruction. All 300 members of my nation oppose this pipeline because we are taught to protect the water and land of our territories. We are speaking for those who don't have a voice: for the eagles, for the salmon, for the orca whales - because our survival depends on their survival. "
Photo, video, & social media content
For drone footage of destruction here.
See also videos and photos here.
For more information, see the PDF of the Press Release below.
Also see below the Open Letter to Ministers Murray, Wilkinson, Guilbeault and Miller, from four BC MPs, Barron, Kwan, Julian and Zarrillo expressing their concerns and calling for the Ministers to, "intervene and halt construction of the TMX pipeline expansion at a minimum until the salmon have spawned and the salmon run is safely complete."
For immediate release, August 4, 2022
Dead salmon at Trans Mountain worksite on Coquihalla River spurs calls for DFO to intervene
Unceded Chawathil Stó:lō Territory (Hope, BC). In what appears to be an early salmon run on the Coquihalla River, dead fish are showing up adjacent to Trans Mountain's in-stream work in the river, about 3 kilometers from its confluence with the Fraser. Local resident Dr. Kate Tairyan photographed the dead salmon beside the Trans Mountain (TM) worksite near her home on August 1-3, 2022. Exploring other parts of the river revealed live salmon swimming upstream, but few seemed able to swim past the TM worksite.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) only gave Trans Mountain a permit under the Fisheries Act to begin work in the river on August 1, 2022. However, TM had been working near the river for the past several months, cutting trees and clearing vegetation, working part of that time with an expired permit.
"It looks like the salmon are early this year. DFO Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray needs to intervene and order Trans Mountain to suspend its in-stream work until the migrating salmon have made it through", said Dr. Tim Takaro of Protect the Planet and a professor emeritus at SFU. This part of the Coquihalla River is an important migratory corridor for five species of salmon as well as steelhead trout. "The water levels are suitable for spawning salmon right now therefore this is the time for DFO to act to protect the salmon run", said Dr. Takaro.
The DFO permit issued to TM allows the company to divert the river and to remove 800 square meters of instream spawning habitat.
"It's very unusual to see so many dead salmon in Coquihalla this early in the spawning season", said Dr. Tairyan. "I am appalled that Trans Mountain is granted permissions to carry forward with cutting a trench in the stream in an area so drastically altered by the devastating flooding of Nov 2021", she continued.
Trans Mountain is working in the area to replace part of its existing pipeline as well as install its new larger pipeline. The new pipeline will cross the Coquihalla River in multiple locations, several of which were washed out last year exposing the old pipe.
Images and videos for media access here.
You can also find these select videos on our YouTube site.
Salmon full of eggs dying before spawning at the Trans Mountain river crossing construction site here.
Dead salmon at the Trans Mountain pipeline construction site, Coquilhalla crossing here.
More dead salmon by the Trans Mountain pipeline construction site, Coquilhalla crossing here.
Migrating salmon blocked passage at Trans Mountain pipeline construction site, Coquihalla River here.
For more information, download the full PDF below.
For Immediate Release: July 18, 2022
Public groups confront Trans Mountain over environmental destruction near Bridal Veil Falls Park
Unceded Xwchiyo:m (Cheam) Stol:o Territory (Chilliwack, BC) - A Notice of Motion is being prepared for Canada Energy Regulator (CER) regarding illegal habitat destruction for the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline. In early June, several environmental groups joined forces to protect the sensitive area around Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park; a red-breasted sapsucker nest stopped work.
Three groups have united to protect sensitive wildlife habitat around Bridal Falls. The Pipe Up Network (Pipe Up) is based in the Fraser Valley, while the Community Nest Finding Network and Protect the Planet are based in Metro Vancouver.
The Pipe Up Network (Pipe Up) is preparing a Notice of Motion identifying how the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), formerly National Energy Board, is not properly enforcing the Conditions and laws permitting the pipeline expansion. Over the last 10 years, three Auditor General reports (1, 2, 3) have confirmed failures in enforcement by CER. By submitting a Notice of Motion, PIPE UP places these incidents on the public record.
According to Lynn Perrin of Pipe Up, "This small area is important for wildlife and people, and its value is even more crucial now that the neighbouring lands were clearcut. In addition to nesting birds, the wetlands are home to amphibians such as the threatened coastal giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus). The area also has mature trees and rare species of plants, all crucial to threatened barn owls and other birds."
Peter Vranjkovic of Protect the Planet said, "This spring, Trans Mountain's contractors cleared an area full of migratory and nesting birds. This work was in contravention of legislation protecting migratory birds and species at risk. I filed a complaint with the CER about this on July 4th, but am not optimistic anything will change due to the conflict of interest. The pipeline is owned by the same people who control CER."
The same contractors intended to clear an area between South Popkum Road and the Bridal Falls Forest Service Road in early June. A local resident stopped the work out of concern for the active bird nests, and then brought in the Community Nest Finding Network (CNFN) to help further. After CNFN located and documented active bird nests, a biologist was brought in to confirm their presence, thus pausing work until the young birds fledge.
Sara Ross of CNFN, said, "It appears that Trans Mountain's biologists are either given insufficient time to find nests and protect wildlife, or they are not motivated to find anything. Every time the CNFN has been on a Trans Mountain site immediately prior to tree-felling, we have discovered nests where they are about to cut (or where they are already cutting). The most famous incident occurred on April 12th 2021, when an Environment Canada Officer witnessed the destruction of a hummingbird nest by Trans Mountain contractors."
In the June 2022 incident, without notice to local residents, Trans Mountain contractors arrived and began swiftly clearing a wide swath of land east of the Forest Service Road. As mentioned, logging was halted by a concerned landowner and by CNFN. Lynn Perrin, who has been monitoring Trans Mountain for years, said, "This is yet another willful violation not only of environmental regulation, but also of the conditions Trans Mountain agreed to as part of the approval of the Expansion project."
The groups are concerned that Trans Mountain has not followed all the environmental conditions under which the project was considered, with further concern that the CER has not been more assertive in enforcing those conditions. They have requested for the consideration of options that will spare trees, habitat and wildlife, such as rerouting the new pipeline around the area or using horizontal directional drilling. At minimum, the groups are calling for a complete halt of tree cutting during peak nesting season.
In addition to the above, a grant from West Coast Environmental Law is supporting three individuals from the groups to hire an environmental lawyer, Ian Moore, in order to consider legal options for saving the remaining habitat.
Media Resources: images and video footage available at this link (https://mega.nz/folder/MY9GgZ6b#FeIFwuIGK7yPBGUIJUpmsA)
For more information, see the full PDF below.
Also please check out Birds on the Frontline here
For Immediate Release: June 22, 2022
Contact Sara Ross • 778-898-0464 • email@example.com
Another Active Bird Nest Stops TMX Pipeline: Red-breasted Sapsucker Halts Construction near Chilliwack, B.C.
Unceded Xwchiyo:m (Cheam) Stol:o Territory (Chilliwack, BC) - For the second year in a row an active bird nest dramatically halts construction on the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline. On Monday June 6th, work stopped near Bridal Falls because of an active Red-breasted Sapsucker nest found by the Community Nest Finding Network - and missed by Trans Mountain.
On June 6, 2022, a family of red-breasted sapsuckers gave pipeline opponents reason to celebrate a memorable anniversary. A year ago, the Community Nest Finding Network (CNFN) had worked with Anna's hummingbirds and black-capped chickadees to effectively stop construction for several months on the TMX pipeline. Under the Federal Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA), active bird nests are protected, and may not be damaged or threatened
Early this month, the bird protection group CNFN responded to a call from a resident near Chilliwack concerned that TMX was tree clearing during nesting season, while hundreds of birds were nesting in the forest. CNFN investigated and documented an obvious and easily-visible red-breasted sapsucker nest, as well as several other species of nesting pairs. CNFN co-founder, Sara Ross, said, "Trans Mountain will try to deny that anything unusual happened here, but we have video and audio footage of their contractors first telling us they were going to cut, and then telling us that they had stopped work because they'd been alerted to the nests. They were onsite to clearcut this forest, but on Monday morning we stopped them again. This sapsucker mama stopped them with our help."
She continued "It is shocking that Trans Mountain biologists failed to locate or report these nests. Every time that the CNFN has investigated a Trans Mountain site just before the chainsaws, we have discovered nests about to be destroyed. The corporate methodology of so-called "nest sweeps" used to locate nests clearly doesn't work."
Ross concluded, "If Trans Mountain is not finding active nests like this easy-to-see sapsucker nest then they should not be allowed to cut trees in peak nesting season." Like other woodpeckers, sapsuckers are important ecosystem engineers. According to Cornell Lab's All About Birds website: "Sapsuckers are important members of their ecosystems, because many species of insects, birds, and mammals use the sapwells to supplement their own diets."
Accompanying the CNFN onsite, Xwchiyo:m-Stol:o Matriarch Denise Douglas and Indigenous Matriarch Cynthia Myran were ready to harvest traditional plants. "The medicine plants are so rich. They should not be wasted or destroyed" says Myran. Douglas expressed concern for the native red squirrels living in the forest. "They've only recently returned to the area and they have babies so cutting trees now is not right."
Stol:o Elder & Wild Salmon Warrior, Eddie Gardner welcomed the CNFN, "We Stol:o are people of the 'Fraser River' and this pipeline threatens our main traditional food source, wild salmon, as well as for all Indigenous peoples up & down this River." The new TMX pipeline was sold as a 'twinning' but is actually a double-wide clearcut that crosses thousands ofwaterways over 1150 km of unceded Indigenous land.
Work will remain stopped until the young sapsuckers, and baby birds from other documented nests, can fledge.
CNFN co-founder, Donna Clark, said, "We demand a halt to active felling and clearing activities until after the migratory bird nesting season is completed. Bird nests are federallyprotected under the MBCA. Our position aligns with best practices recommended by Environment and Climate Change Canada, that Trans Mountain should not be cutting any trees in the nesting season, which lasts well into August in Coastal areas. More to the point, Trans Mountain's due diligence is a sham and they shouldn't be allowed to cut trees in the height of nesting season."
To follow up, CNFN submitted their Nest Finding Report and is filing a Notice of Motion, an official form of complaint within the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) filings system. CER regulates the operations and construction of pipelines. TMX has 156 environmental & other conditions that it must comply with, and not disturbing nests is part of that.
Who is the Community Nest Finding Network (CNFN)?
The Community Nest Finding Network is a group of birders and concerned citizen scientists who united in 2021 out of concern for nesting birds in forests of Burnaby that were slated for destruction by the TMX pipeline. They use a rigorous methodology, based on best practices as recommended by Environment and Climate Change Canada, where the emphasis is onnon-invasive observations over relatively long periods of time.
You can find more information about how to get photographs, a video, as well as information from Facebook, Instagram and a list of Background Resources in the PDF below.
For Immediate Release June 15, 2022
CONTACT: Christine Thuring 604-725-4964 firstname.lastname@example.org
Physician, Public Health Expert, SFU Professor, and Tree-Sitter Tim Takaro Sentenced Today to 30 Days in Jail, Taken Into Custody
Supporters Question Why Pipeline Opponents Are Criminalized While Extractive Industry and Government Avoid Accountability for Climate Crisis
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ Vancouver, BC - Physician, public health expert, and Simon Fraser University health sciences professor emeritus Tim Takaro, 65, was sentenced today to 30 days in jail by BC Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick. Takaro was promptly handcuffed and taken into custody in a courtroom packed with supporters.
Takaro was arrested in November 2021 while engaged in a tree-sit along the Brunette River in Burnaby, protesting construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) and the clear-cutting of trees in the area. Takaro's sentencing hearing was preceded by a press conference and lively rally in his support.
Takaro-along with more than 250 people before him-was charged with criminal contempt for violating the TMX injunction, imposed in March 2018. Takaro's stiff sentence is part of the Crown's strategy to deter him and others from further violating the injunction. Arrests of pipeline opponents have slowed since 2018, but started to pick up again in the last year.
"The real climate criminals are the federal and provincial governments for not taking decisive action to reduce fossil energy infrastructure and ignoring the urgency of the climate crisis," said Takaro. "The government needs to take the climate crisis seriously to keep people from dying, instead of shamelessly going after the people who are fighting to keep our planet healthy and safe for generations to come."
Takaro is part of the Brunette River 6, six land defenders who were all arrested in the Brunette River area of Burnaby for defying the TMX injunction. All five of Takaro's co-defendants pleaded guilty to criminal contempt in February and were sentenced to between 14 and 21 days in jail.
Another land defender, Errol Povah, 69, is facing 60 days in jail and is scheduled to be sentenced by Justice Fitzpatrick on Thursday, June 16 at 9am. Povah was arrested in the same vicinity as the Brunette River 6 in March 2021 while locking down to heavy equipment, in violation of the TMX injunction, and was convicted of criminal contempt at his trial in January.
The Crown has also been targeting Indigenous land defenders, the latest of which was Tsleil-Waututh member Will George. Although he was never arrested, George was charged with criminal contempt in January 2021 and convicted at trial in October. George was sentenced to 28 days in jail last month, but was released on bail shortly after being taken into custody due to his pending appeal.
"Canada is presenting itself as a leader on climate change and health, but where the rubber meets the road, it is increasing emissions from the Alberta tarsands and jailing one of its foremost climate and health leaders-medical professional and health researcher Dr. Tim Takaro-who is calling for a halt to new fossil fuel infrastructure," said Global Climate & Health Alliance director Jeni Miller. "The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion is incompatible with a healthy, sustainable future, and jailing those who try to hold governments accountable is incompatible with the democratic principles Canada purports to represent."
"The laws must be changed to fit our times," continued Takaro. "Parliament has declared a climate emergency, but industry has weaponized the courts to do its bidding, and today's laws make climate chaos inevitable."
See the full release in the PDF below.
You can see a video of Dr. Takaro making his sentencing statement here. A PDF of the written statement is below.
For Immediate Release June 13, 2022
Physician, Public Health Expert, SFU Professor, and Tree-Sitter Faces 28 Days in Jail at June 13 Sentencing Hearing
Rally and Press Conference Planned for Tim Takaro, Arrested in Defiance of Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ Vancouver, BC - A sentencing hearing for physician, public health expert, and Simon Fraser University health sciences professor emeritus Tim Takaro, 65, will take place on Monday, June 13 at 10am in the BC Supreme Court.
Takaro was arrested in November 2021 while engaged in a tree-sit along the Brunette River in Burnaby, protesting construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) and the clear-cutting of trees in the area. Takaro's sentencing hearing will be preceded by a 9:15am press conference and lively rally in his support, held at the corner of Hornby & Nelson Streets at the courthouse entrance.
What: Sentencing hearing, press conference, and rally for Tim Takaro.
When: Monday, June 13-press conf at 9:15am, sentencing hearing at 10am.
Where: BC Supreme Court, 800 Smithe St (Hornby & Nelson Street entrance).
Takaro-along with more than 250 people before him-was charged with criminal contempt for violating the TMX injunction, imposed in March 2018. Takaro is expected to plead guilty and faces 28 days in jail as part of the Crown's strategy to deter him and others from further violating the injunction. Arrests of pipeline opponents have slowed since 2018, but started to pick up again in the last year.
For more information, see the PDF below.
Op Ed in The Star June 10, 2022
Trans Mountain pipeline protester Tim Takaro should not do jail time
Takaro is an expert on the public health impacts of climate change. His potential sentence reflects the absurd predicament Canada finds itself in. You can read the full article here.
Press Release for Immediate Release: May 10, 2022
Tsleil-Waututh Land Defender Will George Sentenced to 28 Days in Jail for Breaching Trans Mountain Injunction
In Front of a Packed Courtroom of Supporters, Will George Was Taken Into Custody After BC Supreme Court Justice Fitzpatrick Imposed Her Sentence
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ Vancouver, BC - Before a courtroom packed with supporters, Tsleil-Waututh Land Defender Will George was sentenced to 28 days in jail for breaching the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline injunction and was immediately taken into custody. BC Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick deferred to the Crown's recommended sentence and all but ignored arguments from defence counsel for why George should instead be sentenced to community service hours and probation.
Today was Day 2 of George's sentencing hearing. Yesterday, Justice Fitzpatrick stated in the morning that she had not read George's 16-page Gladue report, which lays out his childhood history and cultural background, and gives reasons why the court should consider non-custodial sentencing options. Although Fitzpatrick has had the report for months, she took only a 15-minute break to scan it, after which she was ready to sentence George the same day. "It was clear from Fitzpatrick's tone and attitude in court that Will George's Gladue report, and the principles on which it's based, don't matter to her," said Rita Wong, a supporter of Will George.
George was targeted and charged by the Crown in January 2021 with criminal contempt despite never being arrested, and during a period when pipeline work had been suspended. George-who was tried last fall is the first Tsleil-Waututh member to be convicted for resisting the TMX pipeline while on his own ancestral, unceded land. Despite George being present with several others on the day he was accused of breaching the TMX injunction, the Crown only brought charges against George.
The Crown prosecutor sought a stiff jail sentence for George even though the BC Prosecution Services has a policy of seeking non-custodial sentences for Indigenous defendants, with jail time being a "sanction of last resort."
Media Advisory, May 6, 2022
Giant HUG protects Burnaby Mountain from Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX)
Unceded səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Territories BURNABY - In an action inspired by other iconic human chains in history and around the world, hundreds of people will gather this Saturday to encircle Burnaby Mountain in a giant HUG to stand against the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.
Saturday, May 7, 1-4pm, Burnaby Mountain at various sites.
Media opportunities: Saturday May 7 at 2pm at Kwekwecnewtxw Traditional Coast Salish Watch House. Watch House Elder Jim Leyden will offer prayers and words. HUG Spokesperson Dr. Kate Tairan is available for interview. Visuals: Watch House, kids, people gathering and forming HUG. Backdrop of forest and tanks, banners. People in a human chain along the forest road.
2:30pm at TMX Burnaby Terminal gates at Shellmont St and Underhill Ave. Kukpi7 Judy Wilson will be available in addition to a HUG Spokesperson & Protect the Planet Spokesperson. Visuals: Main gate for the TMX Tank Farm, injunction sign, totem pole, people in a human chain down Shelmont.
Photos and Video will be available through the day here.
WHY: Facing the climate crisis demands a drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels and an end to building new fossil fuel infrastructure. The Trans Mountain Expansion will triple the amount of diluted bitumen transported from the Alberta tar sands to Burnaby BC - 890 thousand barrels per day - resulting in deadly increases in global emissions. This project is the opposite of what scientists and health experts have been urging for years, undermines Canada's commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, crosses the unceded territories of many First Nations without consent, and ignores the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global report that UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called "code red for humanity."
Burnaby Mountain is a highly impacted site of TMX construction. It hosts the Burnaby Terminal (a collection of flammable storage tanks) and the Burnaby Mountain Tunnel, which will involve boring through the mountain to accommodate the pipeline. Students, faculty and staff of Simon Fraser University and nearby schools, residents of Burnaby, and the cities of Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster all oppose TMX.
For more information, please visit www.hugthemountain.ca and refer to the PDF below.
HUG photos & videos will be uploaded to this folder.
Media Advisory For Immediate Release: May 6, 2022
Tsleil-Waututh Land Defender Will George Faces Jail Time for Breaching TMX Injunction
A sentencing hearing and rally for Tsleil-Waututh Land Defender Will George will be held Monday, May 9, 2022 at 10am A people's rally in support of George will be held at 9am outside of the BC Supreme Court, 800 Smithe St, Vancouver, BC (Rally at Hornby & Nelson Streets) The sentencing hearing is at 10am
The Crown Ignores Its Own Policy to Seek Non-Custodial Sentences for Indigenous Defendants xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxw.7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil- Waututh) Territories/ Vancouver, BC - Tsleil-Waututh Land Defender Will George - who faces at least 30 days in jail for breaching the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline injunction - will have his sentencing hearing in the BC Supreme Court.
Despite never being arrested, and during a period when pipeline work was suspended, George was targeted and charged by the Crown in January 2021 with criminal contempt. George - who was tried last fall - is the first Tsleil-Waututh member to be convicted for resisting the TMX pipeline while on his own ancestral, unceded land. The prosecutor is seeking a stiff jail sentence for George even though the Crown has a policy of seeking non-custodial sentences for Indigenous defendants, with jail time being a "sanction of last resort."
"This is yet another example of the Crown continuing its long history of systemic racism and colonial violence, as it tries to separate Indigenous people from their land and criminalize them for defending it from harmful resource extraction," said Rita Wong, a supporter of Will George. "The Crown is meant to represent the public interest, yet it wilfully obstructs those trying to address the climate crisis, and instead pushes oil and gas projects that go against everything humanity is being called to do," continued Wong. "Criminalizing indigenous land defenders is hypocritical, racist and unjust.
See the PDF below.
Media Advisory, May 2, 2022
Hug Burnaby Mountain, Organized by Protect the Planet
(Burnaby, BC)-It's the biggest hug in BC! On Saturday May 7 from 1-4pm Burnaby Mountain will be hugged by supporters of Protect the Planet and its partners, grassroots organizations that stand against the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion. In an action inspired by other iconic human chains in history and around the world, we will encircle Burnaby Mountain to convey a powerful message of shared concern for our Mother Earth.
Kwekwecnewtxw: traditional Coast Salish Watch House on the Trans Mountain Trail in Burnaby will be the central meeting point for families, children, earth protectors, and concerned citizens from across the lower mainland. At 2pm attendees will stand, link arms or stretch fabric between them, and encircle the mountain that is focal point for the pipeline expansion
Hug the Mountain is a response to climate change. The crisis demands that we stop building new fossil fuel infrastructure. Yet the federal government crown corporation, Trans Mountain Expansion, will increase global emissions. If completed, the TMX pipeline will carry 890 thousand barrels per day of highly toxic, flammable diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to Burnaby BC. The pipeline will run through residential neighbourhoods, next to schools and vulnerable salmon-bearing streams and sensitive ecosystems. Once it reaches Burnaby, it will be loaded onto massive tankers that will transport it to the Pacific Ocean and ultimately to foreign refineries in countries, such as China.
This project is the opposite of what scientists and health experts have been urging for years, undermines Canada's commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, crosses the unceded lands of many Indigenous communities without consent, and ignores the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global report that UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called "code red for humanity."
For more information, please visit www.hugthemountain.ca or see the PDF below.
For interviews and images, please email: email@example.com
Hug The Mountain Promotion Video (2 min)
Media Advisory, Updated April 28, 2022
Court Battle; First Nations vs the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline, Enters its 2nd Day
Unceded Secwepemc Territory/KAMLOOPS - On Thursday at 10:00 AM PST, Eight Land Defenders are facing trial at the BC Supreme Court for having blocked work on the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline. Secwepemc Hereditary Chief, 3 Matriarchs and Allies in Supreme Court today facing 30 days in jail demanding Secwepemc Law be respected on Secwepemc land.
Trial of eight land defenders including Hereditary chief Sawses (Secwepemc) along with 3 matriarchs and 4 settler allies, Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick presiding enters it's second day. Today, the Crown Prosecutor will respond to the applications from the Trial of Eight. The Secwepemc Nation has made application that states, that this trial violates Secwepemc Law on Secwepemc Land. Also the application calls for a stay of all charges on the grounds that Judge Afleck in 2018 granted an injunction without the free and prior informed consent of all indigenous nations whose territory the proposed pipeline traverses, as per the Canadian Gov't obligation under UNDRIP and DRIPA. Further the application is made under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.
For more information, see the PDF.
Media Advisory, April 27, 2022
Court Battle; First Nations vs the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline
On Wednesday April 27th at 10:00 at the Unceded Secwepemc Territory/KAMLOOPS Courthouse, eight Land Defenders are facing trial at the BC Supreme Court for having blocked work on the Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline.Secwepemc Hereditary Chief, 3 Matriarchs and Allies in Supreme Court today facing 30 days in jail demanding Secwepemc Law be respected on Secwepemc land. Trial of Eight land defenders including Hereditary chief Sawses (Secwepemc) along with 3 matriarchs and 4 settler allies, Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick presiding.
For more information, see the PDF.
Media Advisory, April 22, 2022
Friday Earth Day 2022 - Rally and March, International Declaration for Action
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxw.7mesh (Squamish) & səlJilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ VANCOUVER - On Friday April 22, grassroots communities and people will rally and march to express commitment to a liveable and just world. According to the former chief science advisor to the UK government, Sir David King: "What we do in the next [2-3 years] will determine the future of humanity." Participants will call out the Canadian and BC governments for being "dangerous" and "immoral" as recently stated by the UN Secretary General (*).
The event will also feature Brent Eichler, who has been on hunger strike for 29 days in an effort to convince the Minister of Forests, the honourable Katrine Conroy, to host a public meeting on protecting the last remaining old growth forests in British Columbia. The event will bring to mind Howard Breen in Nanaimo, who has been on hunger strike for 22 days for the same reason and will stop taking fluids at 12am on April 22 if the province remains silent any longer.
For more information, see the PDF.
Op Ed, The Province April 14, 2022
Dr. Linda Thyer: Physicians' moral actions for public well-being considered criminal
Opinion: Public health physician and scientist Dr. Tim Takaro was arrested while quietly sitting in a tree earmarked for felling in the construction of TMX. He joins physician colleagues who have also committed such "crimes" while upholding the modern Hippocratic Oath to protect the health of our patients and the public.
For more information, see The Province Op Ed here.
Media Advisory, April 8 2022
Activists to Stage Oil Tanker Protest at Infamous False Creek Barge
Friday April 8th beginning at 9:30 am, I7iyelshn - Sunset Beach Park
Early this morning, activists, including noted Award Winning environmentalist Tzeporah Berman and public health expert Dr. Tim Takaro, will climb the False Creek Barge to hang banners with messages that call attention to the risk of oil spill projects from the Trans Mountain oil tanker and pipeline project (TMX). If the TMX project is completed, it will result in a seven fold increase in oil tanker traffic in Vancouver Harbour, which significantly increases the risk of an oil spill. The recent announcement by the federal government, that they will not invest more public funds in the project, is a serious setback for the pipeline which is less than half built and now needs to find at least $8 billion in funding from private investors.
Media Contact: Ziona Eyob, Media Director - Canada, Stand.earth. +1 604 757 7279, firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information, see the PDF.
Press Release, Wednesday April 6, 2022
People Across the Country Glue Themselves to RBC Banks to Demand Divestment from Coastal Gaslink
Unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations (VANCOUVER, BC) - On Thursday, April 7, 2022 - the date of the RBC annual shareholders' meeting - individuals from across the country will be gluing and chaining themselves to the doors of RBC branches. Their demand? That RBC respect Indigenous sovereignty and divest from the Coastal Gaslink pipeline.
Wet'suwet'en land defenders and allies have been opposed to the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline drilling under sacred bodies of water on unceded land, as this impacts food sources, water, and a way of life for those who live there. On October 19, 2021, the Gidimt'en Checkpoint from the Wet'suwet'en Members issued a letter to over 35 CGL investors and banks demanding that they cease and withdraw all support from CGL and LNG Canada.
Actions will start at 9:30am on Thursday April 7.
For more information, download the PDF.
Media Advisory, Tuesday March 29, 2022
Rally to be Held Outside Court Sentencing Hearing to Show Support for Tsleil Waututh Land Defender, Will George
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) /Vancouver
On March 29th at 9:00 AM PST, a solidarity rally will be held outside the BC Provincial Court to support Will George, a Tsleil-Waututh Land Defender facing up to 60 days in jail for protesting the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline project. He may be taken into custody at the time of sentencing.up to 60 days in jail for protesting the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline project.
Download the PDF for more details.
Media Alert: March 25, 2022
Vancouver Youth Rally and March Against RBC and Fossil Financers
Friday March 25th 2022, 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. PST. Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby St) and Royal Bank of Canada (1025 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC)
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ VANCOUVER - A youth-led coalition will lead an action calling out RBC as one of Canada's biggest fossil fuel funders. The action calls on banks and insurance companies to stop funding fossil fuels and prioritize #PeopleNotProfit. It is associated with the international Fridays for Future climate strike, this public, family-friendly, covid-safe rally and march calls on RBC to stop funding fossil fuel extraction and prioritize #PeopleNotProfit. Download the PDF for more details.
Press Release: March 8, 2022
Property Developer in Surrey Wants More Money from Trans Mountain
Vesta Properties files for financial losses caused by construction delays and "stigma of proximity to new pipeline." Latest in series of allegations that Trans Mountain negotiates in bad faith.
Surrey, BC - Unceded Coast Salish Territories - On Monday, February 28, legal counsel for Vesta Property filed documents with the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) as part of an unfolding challenge to Trans Mountain Expansion Pipeline (TMX) over inadequate compensation. They say the $2.65 million they received from Trans Mountain (TM) in June 2021 is not enough to cover damages made to their Fraser Heights property by the high-pressure tar sands pipeline currently being built through North Slope Buffer Park and surrounding areas in Surrey.
Download the PDF for more details.
Press Release: February 28, 2022
Climate Leaders Do Not Build Pipelines: Cancel TMX Now
xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxw 7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/ VANCOUVER - On February 18, Canadians received a cost update that the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline is now estimated at $21.4 billion and a year behind schedule. The statement was released on the Friday evening of a long weekend. The news was further buried by the siege in Ottawa while Parliament debated the Emergencies Act.
Also on that day, a number of important announcements were made about the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline. Foremost, the updated estimated costs for the new pipeline was reported to have risen 70% over two years to an astounding $21.4 billion. The federal government quickly responded that it would end public funding of the project and that it would develop a divestment strategy, seek private funding, and possibly sell it to indigenous investors. Organizations and communities critical of the project were quick to challenge the government's continued commitment to the pipeline.
Download the PDF for more details.
Press Release: February 15, 2022
Two More Accused of Breaching Trans Mountain Injunction Sentenced to 14-21 days in Jail
Land Defenders Willing to Go to Jail to Stop TMX, Fight Climate Crisis, Taken Into Custody
Vancouver, BC (Unceded Coast Salish Territories) - Two more land defenders-Zain Haq, 21, and Bill Winder, 69-arrested in September for breaching the Trans Mountain (TMX) injunction pled guilty today and were sentenced by BC Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick to 14 days and 21 days in jail, respectively. Haq and Winder follow three other land defenders sentenced yesterday to 14 days in jail, one of whom expects to spend her 80th birthday behind bars.
Haq, Winder, and the others are part of the Brunette River 6, a nondenominational, multi-faith prayer circle. They were all arrested last fall for opposing tree cutting by TMX, out of concern for the degradation this project will have on urban salmon streams and rivers. All six were charged with criminal contempt of court.
Tim Takaro, 64-the sixth member of the Brunette River 6-appeared today, but pled not guilty and will proceed to trial. Both Winder and Takaro were arrested while occupying the forest canopy in a series of tree-sits and are facing 21 and 28 days in jail, respectively.
Download the PDF for more details.
Press Release: February 14, 2022
Three Women Accused of Breaching Trans Mountain Injunction Each Sentenced to 14 days in Jail
Catherine Hembling, One of the Brunette River 6, Prepares to Spend Her 80th Birthday Behind Bars
Vancouver, BC (Unceded Coast Salish Territories) - Three women arrested in September for breaching the Trans Mountain (TMX) injunction plead guilty today and were sentenced to 14 days in jail by BC Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick. After a lively rally outside the courthouse, the three land defenders-Catherine Hembling, 79, Janette McIntosh, 58, and Ruth Walmsley, 61- delivered impassioned statements to the court, after which they were taken into custody to serve their sentences. Hembling will spend her 80th birthday, on February 23, in jail.
Zain Haq, 21, and Bill Winder, 69-also members of the Brunette River 6-are expected to plead guilty tomorrow, February 15. Tim Takaro, 64-the sixth member of the Brunette River 6-will appear tomorrow, but is not expected to enter a plea at that time. Both Winder and Takaro were arrested for occupying the forest canopy in a series of tree-sits and are facing 21 and 28 days in jail, respectively.
Since the TMX injunction was imposed in March 2018, more than 240 people have been arrested for criminal contempt. Most people were ordered to serve community service hours or pay fines of up to $3,000, but more than three dozen people have been sentenced to between 4 days and 5 months in jail for taking a peaceful stand against TMX.
Download the PDF for more details.
Media Advisory: February 11, 2022
Six Arrested for Breaching Trans Mountain Injunction to Plead Guilty, Face up to 28 days in Jail
One land defender facing 14 days in jail expects to spend her 80th birthday behind bars
Vancouver, BC (Unceded Coast Salish Territories) - Six land defenders arrested last fall and charged with criminal contempt for breaching the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) injunction will be sentenced in the BC Supreme Court on Monday, Feb. 14, and Tuesday, Feb. 15, starting at 10am on both days. The land defenders, who are calling themselves the Brunette River 6, are facing from 14-28 days in jail. A rally will be held in advance of Monday's sentencing at 9:30am.
Download the PDF for more details.
Op Ed: Vancouver Sun February 9, 2022
Ruth Walmsley: Why we face jail time for safeguarding a livable climate
Opinion: In our efforts to stop tree-cutting at a TMX work site, two of us occupied trees, while four positioned ourselves in active work zones . . . one of us expects to be spending her 80th birthday in jail, and another his 65th.
See the link to the Vancouver Sun Op Ed here.
For Release: February 1, 2022
Conflict of interest: CER overrules concerns about Fraser River re-drilling by Trans Mountain
Unceded kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Territory (Coquitlam, BC) - The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) has approved Trans Mountain Canada's request to re-route a failed drilling tunnel under the Fraser River. The decision to rubber stamp the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline ignores the concerns of Members of Parliament, environmental groups, citizens and First Nations. The decision did not address the letter of concern submitted by six Members of Parliament. Nor did it consider the Statements of Opposition filed by numerous environmental groups and several citizens. CER passed its decision without granting discussion nor response to concerns filed by a local First Nation about the proposal's impact to ancestral lands.
Download the PDF for more details.
For Release: January 18, 2022
Trans Mountain fails to explain to Regulator why its Fraser River Tunnel collapsed
əm Territory (Coquitlam, BC) - Three local environmental groups
are renewing calls for the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) to deny Trans Mountain
Pipeline's proposal to relocate and redrill 350 metres of its new pipeline tunnel
under the Fraser River after parts of the tunnel collapsed in November. Six NDP
Members of Parliament have added their voices in a letter to the CER and Minister
Download the PDF for more details.
January 13: 2022
Six NDP MPs wrote concerned letter to CER & Minister Wilkinson re: TMX Pipeline re-route.
January 13, 2022. Six Federal NDP Members of Parliament wrote an open letter to the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) and to Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Natural Resources outlining concerns about the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion re-route and requesting that CER's approval of this request does not go ahead and that work is halted until current reports and studies have been conducted, submitted and reviewed.
Download the PDF for more details.
For Release: January 3, 2022
Re-Drilling the Fraser: Trans Mountain Applies Trial and Error Under the World's Greatest Salmon River
Unceded kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Territory (Coquitlam, BC) - After completing the Fraser River tunnel for the new expansion pipeline, Trans Mountain Canada announced it must relocate and redrill 350 metres of tunnel. This comes after a series of troubling incidents around this segment of the multi-billion dollar project, all pointing to cost cutting measures on risk management. More troubling is that the Crown corporation ignored the advice of its expert consultants, who recommended more test drilling and highlighted concerns about the choice of standard horizontal direct drilling (HDD) on soft and untested soils.
Download the PDF for more details.
Press Release: September 28, 2021
Peaceful Tree-Sitters Forcibly Removed by Tactical RCMP From Treehouse Stronghold
Unceded kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Territory (BURNABY, BC) - At 7:30 this morning, around 20 RCMP agents, including 10 tactical special agents, arrived at the anti-TMX tree sits in the Brunette River Conservation Area. Land defenders have held this area for 286 days, since Dec. 2020. The assault on the tree platforms involved militarized vehicles, and a treaded articulating telescopic bucket truck which was used to remove the dedicated Land Defenders from their fortified perches today - actually two tree-houses boasting open-concept kitchens and battery power capable of lasting for days in a siege situation.
"Today we made a tactical retreat in the forest in the face of overwhelming forces of the petro-state." said Dr. Tim Takaro, speaking on behalf of the coalition and grassroots that support him. "We will not stop defending the planet since we know the state will not stop their actions to destroy it. Most of us, including doctors, scientists and the general public know that the Kenney-Trudeau Trans Mountain pipeline is a climate catastrophe that must be stopped immediately for the safety of future generations."
Download the PDF for more details.
Press Release: September 23. 2021
Two Arrested, TMX Tank Forced to Retreat
Unceded kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Territory (BURNABY, BC) - This morning, eight land defenders breached Trans Mountain (TMX) security fences. As of 12:00, two seniors had been arrested. Also, some daring canopy antics led to the 40 foot "tank" to be parked for the rest of the day. The tree protection camp has won another day.
This morning around 8am, eight individuals stepped past numerous security personnel at a contested TMX work site in Burnaby. Four members of the Prayer Circle Direct Action group, an affinity group of Protect the Planet Stop TMX (PPST), took up positions blocking the tank/ cherry picker used to cut trees and threaten the tree sits at Lost Creek. Yesterday, that tank dismantled two "skypod" aerial camps and arrested tree sitter, Bill Winder (69). Today, we can confirm 2 arrests, both seniors: Catherine Hembling and Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta.
Download the PDFs for more details.
Press Release: September 23, 2021
More arrests of peaceful anti-pipeline land defenders at TMX site in Burnaby
Unceded kʷikʷəƛ̓ əm Territory (BURNABY, BC) - The siege that began on Sept. 7th continues to escalate at the tree sit protecting the Brunette River. Yesterday two "skypods" were dismantled and one person was arrested. Today, land defenders intend to protect the Lost Creek tree sits; the two platforms are one of the stronghold of the resistance. Climate breakdown, extinction, genocide and corporate bullying are just a few reasons that land defenders won't back down.
At 7am today, eight land defenders entered the blue fencing erected by TMX in the Brunette River Conservation Area. A prayer circle of four individuals sat down to block the "tank", a large machine used to cut trees for pipeline construction. After RCMP arrived to the scene, two senior individuals were arrested.
Download the PDF for more details.
Press Release: September 8, 2021
Confrontation looms between TMX pipeline and Burnaby land defenders
Unceded kʷikʷəƛ̓əm Territory (BURNABY, BC) - A TreeHouse Siege has begun in Metro Vancouver. Yesterday, the peaceful treesit that has blocked construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline for over a year was enclosed by blue security fencing, and security restricted access to food delivery. There is concern that Trans Mountain intends to starve the tree sitters or to extract them with unskilled contractors.
At 10:00 on Wednesday, media are invited to accompany supporters bringing food to the enclosed tree sit and confront TMX security. Meet at Hume Park. Contact Rod Marining (604) 219-3424.
The tree sit at Lost Creek has grown since the first structure appeared in Dec. 2020. In addition to more treetop structures, situated 15-30 metres above the ground in bigleaf maples, the number of tree sitters has grown too. Hundreds of citizens are on standby to protect the non-violent land defenders.
For more details download the PDF.
August 16: 2021
Land Defenders reveal Giant Spiderweb to delay Trans Mountain pipeline construction in Burnaby
Many of the trees in the cut zone are now connected high in the canopy by a complex series of ropes, much like a giant spider web. For transparency and safety, informational signs have been posted. PPST is committed to stopping TMX in ways that are respectful, and cause no harm to people, animals, or trees.
Press Release: August 4, 2021
STOPPING the Trans Mountain pipeline: one year later
Unceded Coast Salish Territories (Burnaby, BC) - On August 3, 2020, land protectors in Burnaby began a treesit in a conservation area along the Brunette River in order to block construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline (TMX). One year later the blockade remains at Lost Creek (aka Austin Ck), with several treesits adjoining now occupied. Protect the Planet Stop TMX which leads the coalition effort is offering a tour to journalists who wish to visit the aerial camp, Sat. Aug. 7, led by Dr. Tim Takaro, the first of several tree sitters, who ascended to the treetops a year ago.
Trans Mountain has suffered a series of setbacks in addition to the one-year delay in Burnaby. The most devastating are due to the climate emergency that has killed 100s of people in BC this summer and threatened the homes and livelihoods of many more. The heat-dome event was quickly linked to climate change caused by burning of fossil fuels. People are connecting the dots between TMX, the expansion of the Alberta oilsands, the associated greenhouse gas emissions, and the death and destruction from the heat and fires blanketing the province, as demonstrated by nearly 5000 signatures on a Parliamentary Petition circulating online to stop the project.
Other blows this past year to the publicly funded project include the International Energy Agency declaring an international moratorium on all new fossil fuel infrastructure. As well, the Canadian Energy Regulator reported in Nov. 2020 that TMX is not needed for Canada's energy future. Economists note how the project will lose money if completed, with the costs to taxpayers ballooning over 70%. Because of these risks, a growing number of insurers have pulled out of the project.
Press Release: May 31, 2021
Prayer Circle facing arrest at TM construction site
This morning, a prayer circle gathered at the Brunette in meditation and prayer to prevent destruction of riparian critical habitat for the Nooksack dace (Rhinichthys cataractae), which is listed as Endangered under Schedule 1 of the Species At Risk Act. This small minnow-like fish has lived in the region since the continental ice sheet began its retreat 10,000 years ago. In 2020, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) authorized vegetationclearing at this location, acknowledging that the work will "likely result in prohibited impactsto Nooksack dace and their critical habitat" or cause "serious harm".
The inter-faith group is concerned that the construction, mitigation and reclamation plans authorized by DFO will not suffice to maintain this population. Catherine Hembling, a Unitarian who is prepared for arrest said, "The Canada Energy Regulator, BC Oil and Gas Commission and DFO have given TM permission and authorization to clear vegetation in the riparian zone outside the 'least risk window', but it is clear that this beautifulgreenspace - a jewel in our urban environment - will be destroyed with no possibility of re-creation nor restoration. Plus, we know the approval process for the project was rigged, since consideration of downstream climate impacts was prohibited." She continued, "When Burnaby's municipal by-laws to protect urban forest and park-land were over-ruled, it became clear to us that someone needs to speak up. Personally, I cannot allow thousands of trees to be cut down for such a short-sighted project."
For more information, download the PDF.
Press Release: June 6, 2021
PPST Prepares To Take Trans Mountain to Court over Non-Compliance
Unceded Coast Salish Territories (BURNABY, BC) - The current order from Canada Energy Regulator (CER) to stop all cutting and mowing along the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) project has raised many eyebrows. To the community coalition, Protect the Planet Stop TMX (PPST), this latest order reinforces the belief that this Crown corporation is systemically failing to implement basic standards. With support from West Coast Environmental Law, PPST intends to hold TMX accountable in the courts for its violations, particularly to species and ecosystems.
On Thursday June 3, 2021, the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) issued an order that restricts clearing activities across the project - specifically tree clearing and mowing. CER is the agency that enforces safety and environmental guidelines for all Canadian pipeline projects. Although the timing coincides with the discovery by community volunteers on Tuesday of a chickadee nest on an active TMX construction site, Trans Mountain denies this, stating "the regulator's order was issued after a subcontractor started tree cutting and mowing activities without completing the necessary environmental compliance work". We believe this is another way of saying: without checking for the presence of active nests.
For more information, download the PDF.
Press Release: March 25, 2021
Hummingbirds Put Pipeline on Pause
Unceded Coast Salish Territories (BURNABY, BC) - One of the world's smallest birds may have found a way to stop the Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline. On Tuesday March 23, two Anna's Hummingbird nests were confirmed in the woodland corridor of the Brunette River watershed in an area slated to be clear cut for Trans Mountain pipeline construction. Measuring just 4cm diameter, these tiny nests must be protected with a 30 m buffer until the baby birds can fly. This effectively closes the window for construction through significant riparian areas until at least May 1st. A group of local birders are concerned, however, because tree cutting has taken place within 4m of one of the nests, and cutting is ongoing.
Amature birders spotted the nests after noticing anxious hummingbirds. They say many of these beautiful and tiny birds are present because the forest includes an understory of salmonberries - and the nectar of those signature early spring pink flowers is a favorite food of hummers; males will fiercely defend a territory of blooms on behalf of his family.
"Spring is so obviously here" says Sara Ross, one of the nest-finders and also a Burnaby Mother."Leaves are opening and birds are singing all around - a sign that they may well be on nesting territory. Yet as of today TransMountain is still cutting trees."
For more information, download the PDF and the Stop Work Order from Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Stop Work Order from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
Statement from Environment and Climate Change Canada - received by the Community Nest Finding Network. (ECCC) enforcement officers are responsible for the enforcement of several pieces of wildlife conservation legislation including the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. The purpose of that Act is to protect individual migratory birds, their nests and migratory bird populations and this purpose is achieved by regulating potentially harmful human activities that may impact them.
Press Release: March 15, 2021
Person Injured by TMX Security, Arrested After Locking Onto TMX-Tree-Cutting Tank
Unceded Coast Salish Territories (BURNABY, BC) - Several land defenders risked arrest at dawn today, as part of their duty to protect the environment for future generations and wildlife. One man peacefully locked his body onto a tank-like machine with 30 ft metal tracks,used to cut trees as part of the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) pipeline constructionproject. Shortly after 7:30am security discovered him locked to the equipment. Five or more private security guards working for Trans Mountain violently assaulted him by attempting to remove him from the equipment (video available). The extent of his injuries remains to be seen. Today marks the beginning of the most active bird nesting season according to a City of Burnaby memo.
Trans Mountain Canada began cutting trees in the Brunette River corridor two weeks ago using a tank-like machine. The tree clearing started after Canada Energy Regulator overruled Burnaby's municipal by-laws to protect urban forest and park-land. In spite of municipal laws, and in contravention of legislation to protect riparian ecosystems, work has been progressing, with land defenders agitating at the edge of the injunction zone.
For more information, download the PDF.