While physically spaced out, more than 100 Victoria residents stood connected on Sunday by pieces of red fabric grasped in their hands. The residents were drawing a red line along Dallas Road to show solidarity with land defenders blocking the embattled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
“Our goal is to show this fight isn’t over, we’re here to stand strong and stop this pipeline,” said Penny Crawford, the event’s volunteer organizer.
Crawford said many of the attendees have grandchildren and wanted to show support for youth that have marched in the streets for a livable planet.
“We’re concerned about our future youth, we’re standing up and trying to create a better world for them,” Crawford said.
The Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project includes twinning the existing pipeline, built in 1953, with a new one 1,147 kilometres from the Edmonton area to Burnaby. Work on several portions of the route is expected to continue this spring.
“It’s by no means a done deal and we think we can stop it,” said Crawford.
She called out the prime minister for “talking out of both sides of his mouth,” since the federal government bought the pipeline and has also declared a climate emergency.
“We’re very angry with (Justin) Trudeau for spending taxpayer dollars to buy this pipeline in the first place,” Crawford said. “True climate activists are taking action against stopping the fossil fuel industry, building infrastructure for the the fossil fuel industry is completely in the wrong direction.”
Participants broke into chants of “tanker free Salish Sea” as frosty gusts and rain rolled off the water. Several held signs highlighting concerns over the impact of the expansion on southern resident orcas.
The federal Liberals have defended the expansion amid protests and recent safety concerns, saying they estimate it to earn $500 million per year once it’s completed. The government has pledged revenue from the pipeline will go toward Canada’s clean energy transition.