Nine-year-old Lee McNamee, in blue t-shirt, holds the line at a peaceful protest camp on Kennedy Lake in the summer of ‘93. Police removed McNamee from the protest that day, but he wasn’t charged as he was too young. (Photo courtesy of Maureen Fraser)

Nine-year-old Lee McNamee, in blue t-shirt, holds the line at a peaceful protest camp on Kennedy Lake in the summer of ‘93. Police removed McNamee from the protest that day, but he wasn’t charged as he was too young. (Photo courtesy of Maureen Fraser)

Pipeline protests spur memories of Clayoquot protests for Tofino and Ucluelet locals

“I could see there was something so special to protect.”

Back in the era of the Meares Island logging protests, Maureen Fraser’s Common Loaf Bake Shop had a sign on the door that read, ‘This business supports the preservation of Clayoquot Sound’.

Her Tofino bakery was a hub of activity during the blockades, which saw thousands of people from all over the world stand-up to Canadian forestry company MacMillan Bloedel.

“People would climb up into the trees that were supposed to be cut down the next day. The loggers would show up the next morning and couldn’t cut the trees down because there was somebody up there,” Fraser recalls.

Days after the Liberal government announced plans to purchase the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and related infrastructure for $4.5 billion, Fraser asks the question: Is this pipeline really where we should be drawing a line in the sand?

She thinks the Trans Mountain is a flash point, and that it’s not just about a pipeline, but about the greater issue of climate change and what we should be doing as a species to slow it down.

“I’ll get arrested over this,” she said. “I am really concerned about the direction we as a species are going and I’m going to draw the line right here and say I do not want anymore oil and gas development. I want us to be looking at a different way of being in this world and reducing green house gases.”

READ: Pipeline protest in Port Alberni

READ: Key dates in the history of the Trans Mountain pipeline

Her son, Lee McNamee, is all too familiar with battling for the environment. When he was nine years old, police removed him from a logging protest at second bridge on Kennedy Lake.

“I knew that was going to want these trees around when I was older. I could see there was something so special to protect,” said McNamee.

His frustration on the topic of federal investment in oil and gas is overt.

“I wonder what green economies could flourish with that kind of money? How many solar panels can billions of dollars bring?” he asked.

“This decision paves a path. We can’t make the decision to turnaround towards green in say 50 to 100 years. We can’t go okay now we are going to start building solar panels. We have the opportunity now and the revenues and the resources now and the future is green. There is no more future in oil. There isn’t.”


Hundreds of people protest the logging of Clayoquot Sound in the’90s. (Photo courtesy of Maureen Fraser)

Green Party member and former mayor of Ucluelet, Bill Irving, worked for MacMillan Bloedel during the blockades.

“The solution that came out of the [Clayoquot protests] was a balance between environment and economy,” Irving said, noting that about 180 full-time jobs were lost during the process.

“It was a very difficult and cynical adjustment. I think Ucluelet was sort of branded as the working town and Tofino the environmental town. That was a very unhealthy process. It divided us into camps very quickly. It took years to unravel that,” Irving told the Westerly.

And now, the Trans Mountain anti- and pro-pipeline protests divide Canada into two new camps: Alberta’s economic gain versus British Columbia’s protection of the coast.

The solution to our carbon saturated environment and the petrochemical pollution that we have is not a one-time protest of the [Trans Mountain] pipeline, Irving states.

“Let’s address existing problems, not just shut off the pipeline. Let’s focus on the bigger issues that are out there like the existing tanker traffic and heavy vessel traffic and the plastic pollution in the ocean. That’s a long-term message the government can’t dodge once the cameras are turned on,” he said.

When Fraser first hung that sign on the door of her Tofino bake shop, some people warned her it might turn away customers.

“That’s not my concern,” she replied. “My concern is standing up for the environment in this area and letting everyone know that this business supports that.”

QUICK FACTS

  • Oil and natural gas is Canada’s largest export industry, creating nearly $110 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) and generating more than 500,000 jobs across the country. Source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (www.capp.ca)
  • According to a report by Clean Energy Canada (www.cleanenergycanada.org), it’s five times more difficult to purchase an electric car in Canada than in the U.S. Ottawa offers no federal Electric Vehicle incentive, and only three provinces offer rebates: Ontario, Quebec, and B.C.
  • By 2030, Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects there will be 50 times more electric cars on the road than there are today.
  • The Port of Vancouver sees about 30 to 50 crude oil tankers per year, out of a total of about 3,160 vessel calls annually. With the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project approved, this number could increase to about 400 tankers per year, or about 11 per cent of our total vessel traffic. By comparison, The Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands sees about 8,200 tankers each year and Singapore hosts about 22,200 tankers. Source: Port of Vancouver (www.portofvancouver.com)

Clayoquot SoundloggingTofino,Trans Mountain pipelineucluelet

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni received some good news about an expansion to its emergency department on Jan. 15, 2021. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. health ministry commits $6.25M to hospital expansion in Port Alberni

Plans for larger emergency department have been on hold since 2015

A Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation guardian took this photo of dozens of vehicles parked along a forest service road in the Kennedy watershed. (Submitted photo)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District looks at enforcement of illegal camping

ACRD currently does not have an existing bylaw service to tackle the issue

Ucluelet local Geoff Johnson snapped this photo of a Risso’s dolphin that washed up near Chesterman Beach in Tofino on Wednesday, Jan. 13. (Geoff Johnson photo)
Washed up Risso’s dolphin offers glimpse into “whole other world” near Tofino

“It’s like a UFO crash landed and you can come look at it.”

(B.C. government)
POLL QUESTION: Would you report a neighbour in breach of COVID-19 regulations?

Would you report a neighbour in breach of COVID-19 regulations? READ MORE:… Continue reading

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A 17-year-old snowmobiler used his backcountry survival sense in preparation to spend the night on the mountain near 100 Mile House Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021 after getting lost. (South Cariboo Search and Rescue Facebook photo)
Teen praised for backcountry survival skills after getting lost in B.C.’s Cariboo mountains

“This young man did everything right after things went wrong.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on December 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No place for ‘far right’ in Conservative Party, Erin O’Toole says

O’Toole condemned the Capitol attack as ‘horrifying’ and sought to distance himself and the Tories from Trumpism

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree-planting life on Vancouver Island featured in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)

Most Read