Burnaby's Mayor slams Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion in scathing speech

"When you think about the potential catastrophe that could occur as a result of one of those tankers being damaged in our inlet – the destruction that that would cause to the reputation of this city."

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan - Kinder Morgan protest - Sept 13 2014
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan - Kinder Morgan protest - Sept 13 2014
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan at "Rally to Stop Kinder Morgan" event on Saturday - Photo by Mark Klotz

In a wide-ranging speech at an anti-pipeline rally, Burnaby's Mayor Derek Corrigan made his opposition to Kinder Morgan very clear.  He gave a blistering attack on Kinder Morgan, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, the National Energy Board, and the growing influence of multinational corporations.  

His talk comes as his city is engaged in a legal battle over whether to allow the Texas-based energy giant from mowing down trees in a Conservation Area on Burnaby Mountain, to allow for test drilling for a proposed bitumen oil pipeline.

Standing beside council members and leaders with the Tsleil Waututh Nation and Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, the mayor spoke of what his city is doing to "stand up to Kinder Morgan."

More than 100 residents attended the anti-pipeline rally, with some describing the speech as "powerful" and "surprising for a municipal leader."

Below is an edited portion of that speech from Burnaby Mountain, which is available in full on Youtube.

"I'm so pleased that we continue to get letters and e-mails and correspondence that support what we're doing.  There's so many people from across British Columbia who are recognizing the challenge that we're taking on..."

“The correspondence that I receive is now coming in from all over the world.  I walked into my office the other day to a message from a gentleman from New York to say how much he appreciated us standing up to Kinder Morgan -- that’s really something for a little city like Burnaby.

“And even better, I went on to Facebook – and one of my little nieces had wrote ‘my uncle is awesome’ – (smiling) – now how many guys get that!?” 

“This mountain was originally given to Simon Fraser University.  It was given as endowment lands… We were worried a number of years ago… whether they’d be able to protect these lands.  So the City of Burnaby agreed to buy back Burnaby Mountain from the university."  

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan - Kinder Morgan protest - Sept 13 2014

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan at "Rally to Stop Kinder Morgan" event on Saturday - Photo by Mark Klotz

"It shows you how important this was to our city that we went in and paid cash and traded land to the university, to ensure that we were the ones that were going to be the guardians of this conservation area for perpetuity.”

“To be doubly sure…. we went out and had a referendum from our citizens.  They voted by referendum and said this would remain a park forever until citizens voted differently.  That’s how important this park is to us.”

"We’ve done some polling….70% of people in Burnaby are supporting us.”

“Politicians around the lower mainland are beginning to realize that this is an issue that deals with the solidarity of municipalities and politicians to fight against the kind of corporate interests that are contending now to control so much of our culture.”  

“I can remember at occasions like this when I was 20 years old at Easter Be-In’s at Stanley Park, with hair down over my shoulders -- if you can imagine that – and we were protesting big issues...nuclear weapons…the War in Vietnam… women’s equality and racial discrimination." 

“But what we didn’t see coming up was the corporate culture – the idea that multinational corporations could be become bigger than countries, and more powerful than countries."

"That they were able to lobby in a way that no citizen could.  That they had full time employees who were sitting in places like Ottawa, talking in the ear of the politicians to convince them to do what they wanted."

"Pretty soon, those politicians, far away from us, began to believe what they were told. They began to believe that their interests coincided with the interest of the multinational corporations.   There’s a few who continue to stand up, like Kennedy Stewart, who make it clear they are not buying that kind of argument.  But there are many who are buying it…”

Kinder Morgan's roots with Enron

“Think about it.  Kinder and Morgan.  The two fellows who brought you Enron,” said Corrigan scoffing.

“Now, here’s two guys who are smart.  They got out before the arrests started.  They took their money and put their money into pipelines.  Did they change their attitudes?  I don’t think so.”

“Just the other day, a reorganization of Kinder Morgan put $800 million more into Richard Kinder’s pocket.  So on a simple reorganization – not because of the fruit of his labour, not because of innovation, not because of creativity – it was a “re-org” that allowed him to do that.  And he still continues to sit in what is a trust company, that pays no American taxes. 

“You think that Rich Kinder cares, that in Enron, all of those employees forever lost their pensions?  Richard Kinder is okay.  He sits there in Houston able to control a corporation that can reach its tentacles out to anywhere in the world in order to implement the kinds of policies that companies like Kinder Morgan want.”

“Let me tell you just a little story about what happened with this pipeline [in Burnaby].”

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