Video: Vancouver Opera Violinist Plays 19th-Century Ballad for Protesters in Pipeline Fight

The cities of Vancouver and Burnaby, as well as First Nations, have all sued the pipeline company Kinder Morgan, which wants to extend a pipeline through a mountain in British Columbia.

Vancouver Opera violinist Carolyn Cole joined environmental activists and First Nations this week to protest energy company Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion through British Columbia’s Burnaby Mountain. The Trans Mountain pipeline would bring 890,000 gallons of unrefined oil daily to export through the Burrard Inlet.

“If it comes to me, I’m not going to back down.”

Since September Kinder Morgan has been surveying the land in preparation for building the pipeline. But once workers started cutting down trees, activists disrupted progress by setting up camp at the site.

The energy company then filed an injunction with the British Columbia Supreme Court to remove the protesters. On November 16, Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen granted the injunction, ordering protesters to leave the site or risk arrest.

But this week the situation escalated as hundreds more people joined to support the encampment. Cole, among them, inspired the group by playing a century-old French ballad.

Squamish elder Sut-Lut lit a sacred fire near the encampment and spoke out against the pipeline, noting that Texas-based Kinder Morgan does not have consent from the Squamish people to drill on the land. She and about 24 others were arrested Thursday morning.

The city of Vancouver, First Nations, and the city of Burnaby also oppose the expansion of the pipeline. The city of Vancouver filed a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan requesting the company review the pipeline’s effect on climate change, and the First Nations filed another to block the entire project. The city of Burnaby filed still another suit accusing Kinder Morgan of violating laws when they cut down trees, and has applied to Canada’s National Energy Board for official “intervener status.”

Texas-based Kinder Morgan does not have consent from the Squamish people to drill on the land.

“I didn’t look for the fight. But like any good east end boy, if it comes to me, I’m not going to back down,” Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan told The Province. “This came to our doorstep. We didn’t go looking for this fight … but this will likely turn into a case that will have implications for cities right across Canada for a long time.”

Although the Kinder Morgan surveyors continued their work today on Burnaby Mountain, the Squamish elders, environmental activists, and municipalities all vowed to continue protecting their mountain.

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