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No comment from premier as thousands protest pipelines, tankers at MLA offices across BC

Protesters hold up signs from a protest in front of the BC legislature in Victoria on Monday. Photo by Christopher Guy.

BC Premier Christy Clark's Press Secretary Michael Morton told The Vancouver Observer that Clark has nothing to say about the protests occuring today across BC in front of MLA offices.

BC Ministry of Environment spokesperson Stuart Bertrand said that Environment Minister Terry Lake is in meetings all day in Vancouver, and does not plan on meeting or addressing the protesters. A written statement may be pending, Bertrand said.

Meanwhile, over 3,000 people over the last month pledged online to gather in front of their local MLA offices to show their opposition to oil sands pipelines and tankers carrying oil from Alberta's oil sands. 

The protest, organized by Defend Our Coast, is a follow up to an enormous protest in front of the BC legislature on Monday. Up to 4,500 people chanted, held up picket signs, and listened to speeches from First Nations leaders, opposition MPs from Ottawa, and BC opposition leaders on the general theme of opposing pipelines and tankers from Alberta oil sands.

"Let’s shut the door on tar sands pipelines and tankers with a clear message to our provincial and federal representatives. Let’s support the First Nations who have led the resistance against, tar sands pipelines and tankers," the Defend Our Coast site states.

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers defends oil pipelines and tankers safety record

Travis Davies of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) said that while his organization respects people's right to peaceful protest and doesn't take a stance on specific projects like Northern Gateway, it believes Canada's oil and natural gas reserves are a "tremendous opportunity" for Canada, provided it remains competitive and connected to markets via new pipelines and LNG terminals.

"We need to improve access to oil and gas markets both internationally and in North America to strengthen and build Canada’s position as a safe, secure and reliable energy provider," Davies told The Vancouver Observer. 

"New pipelines and LNG terminals will strengthen Canada’s economy by providing new sources of revenue, jobs and incremental direct and indirect spending."

Davies said that the port of Kitimat offers both environmental and economic benefits that provide Canadian oil producers with more competitive access to Asian markets. He cited 'stringent regulations' that guide shipping crude oil in Canadian waters.

"Over the last 25 years, over 1,500 tankers carrying petrochemicals have safely entered the Kitimat harbor. Last year alone there were 180 tanker calls carrying oil, jet fuel and gasoline to the Port of Vancouver, where there is a proven track record for tanker safety with no navigational issues or incidents in 50 years. In Atlantic Canada, tankers safely move hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil every day and have done so for decades."

Canada needs to think about long term energy plan: Wilderness Committee campaigner

However, Wilderness Committee campaigner and Defend Our Coast participant Ben West said the CAPP's argument is too focused on specific pipeline projects and their immediate effect on Canada's economy.

"The CAPP wants to sell its product, but that doesnt mean its a good thing to do," he told The Vancouver Observer. He pointed out that the overall impact of burning petroleum products is a bigger loss for Canada and the world than could be gained through short-term profit.

"For many people involved in these campaigns, we're worried about Canada's impact on the world."

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