Pipeline opponents revive icy challenge
Remember the “Ice Bucket Challenge” for Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) awareness that went viral on social media in summer 2014, with thousands of participants dumping buckets of ice over their heads?
What about the Indigenousled “Winter Challenge” during that year’s Idle No More groundswell across Canada?
Now in British Columbia, opponents of Kinder Morgan’s plans to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline are shivering and shuddering to shut down the project — which has been approved by both Ottawa and Victoria and is expected to start construction in September.
The Texas energy giant’s $7-billion plan would triple the flow of diluted bitumen oil through a mostly existing pipeline, increasing the oil flow from 300,000 barrels to 890,000 barrels per day from Alberta’s oilsands to a terminal in Burnaby.
Kinder Morgan has said the pipeline and marine traffic have a proven safety record over decades and that it will meet the safety conditions upon which federal and provincial approvals depend.
The latest incarnation of the icy challenge started with Kai Nagata, communications director for the citizens’ environmental group Dogwood Initiative, on Sunday jumping into the very cold Seymour River in North Vancouver.
“This is the Kinder Morgan challenge,” he explained in a video posted to Facebook.
The rules are simple: to immerse yourself in any British Columbia body of water. And like the challenge’s predecessors, before they dunk participants nominate a few friends to complete the dare in turn.
Nagata’s nominations included Vancouver City Coun. Andrea Reimer, an outspoken pipeline opponent, West Coast Environmental Law staff lawyer Eugene Kung, Squamish Nation language advocate Khelsilem, and former Dogwood staffer Mary Leighton, founder of Language Partners B.C.
Leighton and two friends were the first to respond to the dare.
“I accept the challenge,” said Leighton in her own Facebook video, as she and her friends took to West Vancouver’s Brothers Creek on Monday. “We love clean water!” Meanwhile, Coun. Reimer’s one-word response to Nagata’s video neither confirmed nor denied whether she would be accepting the wintry challenge quite yet. Her reply: “Thanks?”
Meanwhile some cleverly attempted to find ways to participate without actually getting cold, with University of B.C. Okanagan theoretical physicist and mathematician Ben Tippett asking Nagata: “Do, er, ah … hot springs count?”
Do, er, ah … hot springs count? Ben tippett