Some 25 people demonstrated in front of Liberal MP Terry Beech’s constituency office in Burnaby this afternoon, demanding that the federal government go back on its promise to financially back the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Protesters, including SFU students and Burnaby residents, beat pots and pans with wooden spoons, chanted, raised signs, and passed out fliers to passersby at Beech’s constituency office on Hastings Street. They also asked people to sign a petition demanding the federal government refuse to bail out the project. Tuesday’s protest is part of a larger movement by environmental activist group 350 asking groups to protest at federal Liberal constituency offices.
Susanne Jackson, who lives in Beech’s riding, is worried that expanding the tank farm on Burnaby mountain will be dangerous for her friends who live in the area, and for the children who attend Forest Grove Elementary School nearby.
Jackson said she’d like to see her MP publicly denounce the pipeline.
“Terry has not done enough. He has not spoke up in parliament. He says he’s doing what his residents want, but from my experience, when I’ve gone in to talk to him, it’s like there’s a wall. It’s like he can’t do stuff because he’s being muzzled by the Liberal Party,” she told the NOW.
“I would like him to stand up in the House of Commons and say, this tank farm, the risk is unacceptable. We have kids in schools that are metres from the tank farm, and this is not acceptable the way it is.”
Simon Fraser University students from clubs Change SFU and SFU 350, as well as Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE), were represented at the demonstration.
Maitland Waddell, co-president of Change SFU, said he is protesting the pipeline for moral and environmental reasons, and because he doesn’t believe there has been enough consultation with local Indigenous peoples. The group focused on Beech's constituency office because he is a Liberal MP, and may have influence over whether the project goes ahead.
“We’re essentially trying to target (Beech’s) riding, specifically, show him that people in his riding have signed this petition, and there might be a real risk of him not getting re-elected,” he told the NOW.
When asked what he would tell protesters if he was present, Beech said he’d thank them for coming, and would direct them to his website to see what he is doing on the issue.
“I’d thank them for attending…And let them know I'm more than willing to meet when I’m not in Ottawa,” he said in a text.