Victoria, Vancouver take part in national #DefendOurClimate rallies

Hundreds of British Columbians joined over 100 cities in DefendOurClimate rallies on November 16 (Olsy Sorokina/BCIT News)

Hundreds of British Columbians joined over 100 cities in DefendOurClimate rallies on November 16 (Olsy Sorokina/BCIT News)

VANCOUVER (BCIT NEWS) – Strong wind and pouring rain did not get in the way of Victoria residents who wanted to voice their concerns over the recent pipeline agreements.

On November 16, over 130 communities across Canada have joined in the plea for the local and federal governments to reconsider pipeline and tar sands expansion projects. The Defend Our Climate rallies were held outside of government offices as well as the local landmarks.

Dozens of people gathered at Clover Point near Dallas Road beach in Victoria; the location provided the protesters with “a view of where the oil tankers would travel,” according to the event’s website.

The event featured guest speakers from various groups opposed to Enbridge and Kinder Morgan pipeline expansions in British Columbia. There were representatives from First Nations, as well as various environmental organizations and youth groups.

But not everyone who came out to the rally belonged to an official groups; some were just British Columbians who are unhappy with the BC government’s decision-making.

“We are not just Alberta’s gold mine,” says one protester. “It is time we let the government know that the residents of British Columbia are not okay with these pipeline agreements.”

Protesters' signs carried different messages, but all of them appealed for the government officials to stop pipeline expansions (Olsy Sorokina/BCIT News)

Protesters’ signs carried different messages, but all of them appealed for the government officials to stop pipeline expansions (Olsy Sorokina/BCIT News)

“I care about where I live, and I’m worried about everything that’s happening to the water, the air, the ocean, the rivers,” said another. “I think [the Enbridge pipeline] puts everything in a solid risk. The tankers have to come down a narrow passage, there is just no way there will not be an accident.”

Vancouverites also gathered to show their opposition to the pipeline projects at the TELUS World of Science on Main Street. One of the rally’s organizers, ForestEthics Tar Sands campaign director Ben West says it was a truly exciting moment in British Columbia’s history.

“To be standing up on the stage and looking at what looked to be over 5000 people on a cold weekend taking time out of their lives to make sure the Premier and the Prime Minister hear loud and clear that we don’t want the Enbridge pipeline to go forward,” says West.

Every rally took a moment to take a group photo to display on the event’s website, to show support for the movement in their community.

#DefendOurClimate was a trending topic on social media throughout the day. Here is what people had to say about the rallies:

For those Canadians who were unable to attend the rallies, Defend Our Climate website features a petition calling on the federal government to stop pipeline and tar sands expansion.

Listen to my Evolution News story on the rallies:

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