A protester wears a salmon hat on the front lawn of the British Columbia Legislature during a protest against the Northern Gateway Pipeline project in Victoria, British Columbia October 22, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/ANDY CLARK
Thousands attended the gathering to voice their disapproval of Enbridge's proposal to build a $6 billion pipeline to carry diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands through northern BC to a tanker port in Kitimat, BC.
"Today's turnout shows the widespread opposition to tarsands tankers and the Enbridge pipeline,'' Chief Jackie Thomas of the Saik'uz First Nation said.
"There's a clear message here for Canadian politicians and they ignore it at their own peril."
Opponents of the project fear the environmental impact of a pipeline leak or damage to the coastline from a tanker spill. Environmentalists said the government must move away from carbon fuels and focus on clean energy.
"Even if the oil arrives safely at its destination, the carbon emissions that would result from its use would contribute to a climate disaster," said George Hoberg, a University of BC forestry professor.
Rick Zaleski of Chilliwack, BC said the entire province would be impacted by the pipeline.
"I've worked hard to build a life for my family in this beautiful province,'' the father of two sons said. "Pipelines affect us all, no matter where we live."
Enbridge estimates the pipeline will generate $81 billion in revenues for the federal and provincial governments over 30 years.
An environmental review panel studying the project has until year-end to complete a report.