Burnaby RCMP are on site ‘monitoring’ the situation and have called in an emergency rescue team to possibly remove Terry Christenson from the tree.
Ontario grandfather Terry Christenson, who climbed a tree Monday to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, could be arrested Tuesday.
It wouldn’t be the first for the 71-year-old man who was arrested last year for camping in a tree at Burnaby’s Westridge Marine Terminal to protest the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, Christenson had been camped out in the tree inside the Westridge terminal for 29 hours. A court-ordered injunction remains in place against the protesters.
A news release from the protesters Tuesday said RCMP had moved in to arrest Christenson, but Mounties in Burnaby said they were continuing to monitor the situation. A staffer in the detachment’s communication department said an emergency rescue team was on site to help remove the man from the tree, if that were to occur.
Burnaby RCMP were expected to release a statement if any arrests were made at Westridge on Tuesday.
“I’m more afraid of climate change than I am of jail, and I’m willing to risk arrest to send a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: Canada shouldn’t be building more dirty pipelines. This project doesn’t have the consent of many of the First Nations it passes through, and thousands of people, including myself, aren’t going to stand by and let it get built,” said Christenson, in a statement Tuesday.
Christenson, a country singer who has twice been nominated for a Juno Award, was arrested after a similar protest in March 2018 in Burnaby.
His first protest lasted 16 hours before he was removed, but Stand Earth spokesman Sven Biggs says the professional mountain climber has enough supplies to remain in his new perch for a week.
In February, the National Energy Board recommended that the federal government approve the $9.3-billion pipeline expansion that would twin the existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, built in 1953, and nearly triple capacity. Tanker traffic from the Burnaby terminal on the Burrard Inlet is estimated to increase from 60 tankers a year to more than 400.
The Alberta government says it needs the extra pipeline capacity so it can export more crude oil to Asia and beyond. The B.C. government and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby are opposed, due mostly to the risk of an environmental disaster and the impact on marine life and some First Nations bands, but also because of the economics of the project. Bitumen is expensive to extract from the oilsands and demand from Asia has so far been sporadic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to green light the project in the coming weeks.
“(The protest) is a message to Justin Trudeau and his cabinet who are right now considering whether or not to re-approve the pipeline. If they do that, I think they are going to see a lot more actions like this mornings’,” Biggs said.
— with files from Scott Brown, David Carrigg and Canadian Press