Kinder Morgan arrestee Lynne Quarmby to run for Greens in federal election

Elizabeth May encouraged Quarmby to run, after the SFU professor's arrest on Burnaby Mountain in protest of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

SFU professor Lynne Quarmby arrested Burnaby Mountain Kinder Morgan - M Prystupa
SFU professor Lynne Quarmby speaks to reporters on Burnaby Mountain - M Prystupa
SFU scientist Lynne Quarmby waves during her arrest on Nov.21 on Burnaby Mountain in protest of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Photo by Mychaylo Prystupa.

Lynne Quarmby -- outspoken pipeline critic, Kinder Morgan lawsuit defendant, and SFU professor of biochemistry -- intends to run for the Green Party of Canada in the next federal election, the Vancouver Observer has learned.  

She is seeking to become a Member of Parliament in the very riding where the company hopes to expand the oil tanker terminal for its proposed Edmonton-Burnaby pipeline that she opposes.

“I didn’t choose politics, politics chose me,” said Quarmby.

“My experience in the protest against Kinder Morgan drove home the extent to which the Conservative Government of Canada under Stephen Harper has eroded our democracy."

Making the announcement official on Burnaby Mountain Wednesday morning, she called the Harper government's push for more fossil fuel infrastructure "immoral behaviour" in an era of climate change.

The distinguished scientist and educator is seeking the nomination for Burnaby North-Seymour – a new federal riding created after a recent electoral map shake-up.

Symbolically for her, the riding has within it the location of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline test drilling that took place last month.  

She was hit by a civil suit by Texas-based Kinder Morgan for her statements against the proposed pipeline to cut through the mountain there -- and she once feared she could lose her house over the legal action.  Ultimately, she decided to be arrested to protest the $5.4-billion project.

At the time, she told a press gathering that she was going to "be the best citizen I can be" and turned around and crossed an RCMP police line, meant to protect Kinder Morgan drillers.

Not long after, she got an unexpected e-mail from the leader of the Green Party of Canada.  Elizabeth May asked her to run.

“It was surreal. It was exciting,” the scientist laughed. “To be honest, [politics] had not crossed my mind before. After much soul searching, the run for Ottawa made sense.

“I have a very fulfilling career as a scientist, but at this point I feel I can do more for the future of science by engaging in politics, than by looking in my lab.”

Kinder Morgan has been invited to comment on this story.

Parties' pipeline positions

Pipeline politics is expected to be a key dynamic in the next federal election, especially in B.C. The current narrowly held majority Conservative government approved the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline in June, and has overhauled the National Energy Board to expedite all pipeline approvals.

Quarmby admits the Greens are not expected to form government, but says she chose the party because it is the only major party willing to put a moratorium on new pipeline projects.

“All of the other parties are pulling their punches on climate change. They are afraid the public isn’t ready to hear the reality. I have more respect for the public than that," said Quarmby.

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