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Burnaby anti-pipeline protests indicate a 'crisis' in B.C.: Horgan

“There is a crisis emerging in B.C. It’s going to be a long summer, I suspect”
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B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at a Burnaby Board of Trade breakfast event. (Cornelia Naylor, Burnaby Now)

The ongoing protests at Burnaby’s Trans Mountain terminal indicate a growing crisis in British Columbia, according to Premier John Horgan.

Horgan told reporters Wednesday at a stop in Coquitlam, that the National Energy Board (NEB) and the federal governments should be accountable for the escalating tensions around the Kinder Morgan's pipeline expansion project, calling the resistance an “extraordinary circumstance,” and a crisis.

“This is not a threat by me. This is self-evident by the number of people that are collecting on Burnaby Mountain every day to express their disappointment with the federal government's decision to proceed,” Horgan said. “There is a crisis emerging in B.C. It’s going to be a long summer, I suspect.”

Horgan also alluded to the costs of policing the protests on Burnaby taxpayers. Mayor Derek Corrigan previously indicated the city would not be footing the bill on extra policing costs needed to enforce the injunction in favour of Kinder Morgan, which has resulted in more than 170 arrests since March 17 at the Trans Mountain terminal in Burnaby.

Fighting the pipeline decisions in court shows the provincial government is doing its due diligence, he said. The NDP provincial government recently lost its bid to appeal an NEB decision at the Federal Court of Appeal that allows Trans Mountain to bypass Burnaby bylaws. It is also involved in an ongoing legal battle surrounding the original NEB decision that approved the pipeline project.

As for what the federal government and the NEB should do, Horgan said they should be held accountable for the growing tensions around the pipeline in Burnaby, because they are the decision-making bodies that approved the project.

“I believe the federal government should be accountable for the circumstances we find ourselves in. It was their decision, it was their choice,” he said. “I've not seen the Prime Minister come to address these issues in Burnaby. Perhaps he'll do that in the short term.”

— Lauren Boothby, Burnaby Now