An Albertan activist says supporters of the Trans Mountain pipeline are ready to head to Burnaby Mountain and clear out a group of protesters if police and officials won’t do it.
The protesters, who call themselves Camp Cloud, have been stationed outside the Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby for months, despite the city securing an order from a judge for them to vacate because of noise and fire hazards.
The city has since applied for a order to enforce the eviction notice. A B.C. Supreme Court judge is set to rule on the application Aug. 10.
If the group still refuses to leave, Calgary-based Cory Morgan, leader of Citizens Committee to Evict Camp Cloud, said he’s prepared to start cleaning the site up himself.
“We very much want the authorities to deal with this, but we’ve been waiting a very long time and it just seems we keep kicking the can down the road… and we’re seeing no boots on the ground,” Morgan said in a phone interview with Black Press Media on Friday.
Morgan said he understands police want to act, but that “they’re handcuffed, ironically,” until authorities give them the go-ahead to clear the area.
“We feel it’s time it might take a catalyst to let the authorities know we have had enough. We aren’t going to sit here and wait for you guys to doddle and put off what might be a dirty job. Get out there and do it or we’ll do it ourselves.”
Burnaby RCMP have made 213 arrests at the terminal since mid-March, resulting in some jail time. Officers have also reported getting injured during some of these arrests.
Morgan said discussion has already began to fundraise for buses to transport supporters to the terminal, and trucks to hold all of the garbage collected near the campers.
“I know this little group on its own isn’t what is holding the pipeline up, but it’s a symbol and it’s a strong one,” he said. “It’s telling foreign investors who are watching this situation that we can’t get things done in Canada – we don’t even have the will of the country to remove what is an increasingly bizarre group of people on the side of the road. Why on Earth would they invest in further projects?”
Morgan, who worked in the oil fields for 20 years before buying a bar, said he took similar measures during the 2011 Occupy Calgary demonstration, which brought hundreds into the city’s Olympic Plaza from October until the end of November.
Morgan made headlines for parking his truck in the middle of the protest, with made-up slogans mocking the demonstrators. He was issued a $200 bylaw fine.
“The week before, the city had said it was impossible to move these people out of the park because of their charter rights, but after I pulled my stunt, the city started moving to remove them the day after. It seems sometimes they need a little push,” he said.
When asked if he was concerned showing up in Burnaby could make matters worse or become confrontational, Morgan said his group “doesn’t intend to [get violent]; we’re just going to pick up the trash lying around out there.”
In a statement, Burnaby RCMP Supt. Chuck McDonald said officers respect the dignity of all people and ask the same of anyone involved in the ongoing demonstrations.
“Police would urge people not take matters into their own hands. If anyone has concerns about any potential criminality in relation to the ongoing demonstrations or demonstration camps they are asked to contact Burnaby RCMP,” he said.
Black Press Media has reached out to Camp Cloud for comment.