Alpha Secondary student plans peaceful Kinder Morgan protest

An Alpha Secondary student is planning a candlelight vigil to protest the proposed Trans Mountain pipline expansion.

Emma Soothill is asking friends, family and the people in her North Burnaby community to join her next Monday at McGill Park, near the Chevron refinery.

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“I’m hoping for as many (people) as possible. Even just like 10 or 20 would be amazing, but pretty much the more the merrier. I would love to have a lot of passion come out and a lot of people who are ready to protect the environment and show their support,” the 14-year-old told the NOW.

The Trudeau government is expected to make a decision on the Kinder Morgan pipeline by Dec. 19. Earlier this month, a three-member ministerial panel released its report on the project after travelling to communities along the pipeline’s proposed marine and shipping routes. The panelists – former Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird, former Yukon premier Tony Penikett and former Alberta deputy minister Annette Trimbee – posed six questions to the federal government, but did not lay out any recommendations. The questions touched on the perceived flaws of the National Energy Board, Canada’s commitments to climate change and its promises of reconciliation with First Nations groups.

The vigil was, in part, inspired by the U.S. presidential election outcome, which Soothill said made her “really upset.”

“It has made me want to do something positive in my community. I learned that there are candlelight vigils going on across Canada to protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline on Monday, and I was disappointed that there was not one planned for Burnaby yet,” she said.

The Grade 9 student said she’s always had an interest in the environment and often gives speeches at her school on the Kinder Morgan project.

“I’m scared for my future and my friends’ futures because if the expansion goes through, then we will all be affected by it. It’s going to affect me and my generation, with oil spills, and it will also affect our planet and climate change. My generation will have to clean up those spills, clean up that climate change and the greenhouse gas, so I don’t want to have my future (be about) fixing the environment (because of) what happened in 2016,” she said.

McGill Park is at 4203 McGill St. The Nov. 21 vigil is on from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

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