Climate Activists Occupy Transport Minister’s Office
Protesters Demanded Marc Garneau Denounce Kinder Morgan Pipeline, No Police Called
Montreal climate activists occupied Marc Garneau’s constituency office in downtown Montreal on Friday morning, calling for the Canadian Transport Minister to publicly denounce the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
Similar sit-ins were also carried throughout the country, with activists occupying the offices of Natural Resource Minister Jim Carr in Winnipeg and Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna in Ottawa.
The aim of the sit-in was to put pressure on the Trudeau government to reject the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline that stretches from Alberta to the West Coast of British Columbia. The final decision from the Government of Canada is set to take place on Dec. 19.
“Words are fleeting, it’s time to see action,” said Nicola Nicol, a McGill student, “and that is Garneau taking a stance, it’s the entire federal government taking a stance, the stance can’t be in favour of
Garneau was not available to speak with the protesters. He instead sent his Director of Communications Marc Roy and Chief of Staff Jean-Philippe Arseneau, who sat down with the protesters an hour after the sit-in began.
“It’s a political issue,” said Aurore Fauret, a climate activist and organizer with 350.org. “We’re not here to be disrespectful, but we know there is an entire movement of young people standing behind this.”
The activists, composed mostly of McGill students, expressed their concerns regarding the pipeline expansion, as well as their dissatisfaction with the Trudeau government’s environment policy a year after his election.
They said Canada can not keep its commitments to the Paris Agreement while at the same time expanding natural gas extraction infrastructure. They also said their opposition to the pipeline was an act of solidarity with First Nations communities.
“Trudeau promised nerve, he promised to be a new kind of leader. We want a leader who actually does things in grounded action that will guarantee us a liveable future, that will guarantee when we have kids we will not feel concerned about the fleeting stability of our planet,” Nicola told Garneau’s staff.
Though Garneau did not meet with the activists present, Arseneau agreed to organize a future meeting with representatives of the group. He also said the minister would release a statement regarding the pipeline.
The activists were eventually asked to leave the property by constituency staff, and later by the building owners, who threatened to call the police.