Activists in Quebec and British Columbia are finding common ground in their fight against pipelines, with a recognition that tar sands pipelines are unacceptable no matter what direction they travel in.
Quebec climate activist Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois was in Vancouver last weekend to speak about the growing resistance to pipelines in Quebec. He met with Rueben George of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, who had just returned from Kinder Morgan’s annual general meeting in Houston, Texas.
Speaking in front of Kinder Morgan’s major stockholders, George had articulated his nation’s continuing and firm opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline. He also made CEO Richard Kinder a promise: “I will beat you.”
George invited Nadeau-Dubois to visit Tsleil-Waututh territory and meet local people who support efforts to stop pipelines and more oil tankers from crossing into their nation’s territory.
The pair were interviewed by Ricochet video journalist Nicky Young on the shores of Burrard Inlet, unceded Tsleil-Waututh territory. Their warning against allowing division between different parts of the country is timely as politicians at all levels have been using the language of “good pipelines” and “bad pipelines.”
Grandson of famed Indigenous activist Chief Dan George, Rueben is a leader in his nation as well as a respected leader in the fight against Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and other projects that threaten the unceded coastal lands and waters of his people. The Tsleil-Waututh, or People of the Inlet, “have inhabited the lands and waters of our traditional territory surrounding the Burrard Inlet in British Columbia since time immemorial,” according to their website.
Late last year, Nadeau-Dubois won the Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction for his first book. Tenir tête is based on his time as the spokesperson for CLASSE, the largest student federation during the 2012 student strike in Quebec.
Nadeau-Dubois announced on live television that he would donate the $25,000 prize to a coalition of community groups organizing to fight the Energy East pipeline project and asked viewers to double the donation. Within one week people had given over $400,000, a war chest that helped organize the historic Act On Climate march in Quebec City this past April.
Currently Nadeau-Dubois is a Ricochet columnist as well as co-founder of Élan Global, which calls for a carbon-neutral Quebec by 2050, immediate divestment of public funds from fossil fuels and a halt to all oil-export traffic across Quebec. Its manifesto, backed by an initial group of 200 prominent Quebecers, has been signed over 20,000 times within a few weeks.
Ricochet would like to thank our co-sponsors who helped make this trip possible: the Simon Fraser University Institute for the Humanities, the Council of Canadians, Smart Change and the Vancouver Ecosocialist Group.