It’s been 21 years since Bonny Glambeck was arrested for protesting. Last week, it was time again.
“I decided that I wanted to get arrested to show my opposition to building this pipeline,” said Glambeck, of Clayoquot Action. “It’s not an easy decision to make.”
The event was a reunion with four other organizers of the 1993 Clayoquot blockades: Valerie Langer, Chris Hatch, Karen Mahon and Jean McLaren.
McLaren, in her 80s, stayed for the summer of 1993 to teach civil disobedience training.
“It was incredibly inspiring to be on the line with her – it was very, very uplifting and inspiring,” Glambeck said. “We crossed the line together,” she recalled.
The five were asked to move, and they responded that they would be passively resisting.
“We were carried to the paddywagon,” she said.
The RCMP were “very respectful,” she said – adding that the atmosphere at the site last week was “peaceful.”
She was only in jail for four or five hours, and the experience was nothing like her incarcerations in 1988 and 1992, she said.
In 1988, Glambeck was interned for six days in Ocala Women’s Prison on Deer Lake -a maximum security prison for protesting “an illegal road being built in Clayoquot Sound,” Glambeck said. It sat, ironically, where the police station now sits in Burnaby.
“It was scary, it was old, I was young .. it really opened my eyes to a whole other side of life … seeing indigenous people, the way they’re treated within the system, the numbers of indigenous people within the system,” she recalled.
Glambeck said the charges filed against her last week were dropped, but efforts to keep Kinder Morgan from drilling two 6-inch-wide holes to explore the feasibility of rerouting a pipeline around a more populated area where other pipelines currently sit will continue.
Meanwhile, David Suzuki’s grandson, snowboarding environmentalist Tamo Campos, who was also arrested at the Burnaby Mountain site, will be in Tofino tonight, Dec. 3, to show his movie, The Little Things.
Glambeck said a small update on Clayoquot Action’s involvement at Burnaby Mountain will be given as well.
“I am very unhappy that our federal government has put me in this position as a citizen.”
“I think that our opportunities for input on these pipeline projects and the tar sands is broken down and I think the government isn’t really listening to what people want in terms of our future, in terms of fossil fuel infrastructure,” she said.
For critics who note that the protesters use items produced through the results of bitumen mining – who drove cars fueled by bitumen to get to the demonstrations, Glambeck has a ready answer.
“I think that’s not really the issue. This is the reality that we live in right now -that we have to travel around by using fossil fuels,” she said.
“What we need to be looking at is moving away from using fossil fuels. (The Kinder-Morgan pipeline) is building more infrastructure to keep this fossil fuel economy going on into the future.”
As to those who point to jobs and the money from bitumen that helps fuel the Canadian economy and social programs, Glambeck points to what she feels are bigger issues.
“I would say Kinder Morgan is only paying 1% tax,” she said.
“I think we need to remember when the economy was run on slave labour, and the time when people challenged that ‘how we would run economy without slave labour?'” Glambeck said, adding that slavery was ended and the economy transformed into something new.
“That’s something we’d like to see with the oil industry -it’s time to move on to a new economic base,” she said.