Legendary environmental leader David Suzuki stoked an already heated pipeline protest Sunday, when he walked up to a police line protecting Kinder Morgan drill crews, and railed against the officers for their treatment of his grandson, arrested earlier this week.
"My grandson was dragged across the line and was arrested!" Suzuki shouted, his voice filled with emotion.
"I'm disappointed and it grieves me because of the respect we have for you!"
The 78-year old spoke into the mic about his own experience growing up in Japanese Canadian internment camps during the Second World War, and how police treated him at that time.
"I can tell you they treated us like human beings," he said. "But now you're here to enforce the law. That doesn't mean that you're above the law! Or that you make your own laws!"
The moment was captured on video by the Vancouver Observer. The RCMP has been asked to comment on Suzuki's speech.
Hundreds of people witnessed the outburst, and many screamed, "Shame!" towards the police. Many had been crushed against the police line for hours on Burnaby Mountain, and Suzuki's appearance was a surprise to many.
"You're a sunset industry. What do we expect Kinder Morgan to say? Their job is to make money and they'll do it however they want. I'm not going to change their mind on that."
"It's mainstream thing. But it's a clash between two world views. But unfortunately the one world view represented by Kinder Morgan is all-powerful economically and politically. People are desperate and need to put their bodies on line," Suzuki said.
According to an eyewitness Sunday, about a dozen protesters were taken by police today, among them an 11-year-old girl, and her mother.
When a reporter from Sun News asked if he would comment on whether people should bring children to the Burnaby Mountain event, Suzuki said it's people's choice. He paused, looked at her more closely and said, "Who are you with?"
"Sun News," she said.
"I'm not talking to you," he said.
He then said, "Canada should be ashamed of itself," adding that he was there supporting his grandson, Tamo Campos, who was on the mountain today and was arrested on Thursday.
"We as Canadians need to wonder why so many are willing to be arrested."