Anti-pipeline protestors, right, argue with a man attending a pro-pipeline gathering in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, June 18, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Protesters on either side of the debate over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion clashed at a rally organized by the project’s supporters in Vancouver on Tuesday.

Lynn Nellis of the Canada Action Coalition was speaking to the crowd of a few dozen people when anti-pipeline protester Kwiis Hamilton began playing rock music.

Rally attendees asked him to stop but Hamilton persisted. Police responded when Hamilton was shoved.

Afterwards, Hamilton said he interrupted the rally because he wants to defend the land along the B.C. coastline where his ancestors have lived for generations.

Several First Nation leaders who support the project spoke at the rally, including Shane Gottfriedson of Project Reconciliation, an Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51 per cent of the expansion project.

Gottfriedson says a few Indigenous bands have joined Project Reconciliation and they’re prepared to offer the federal government a fair price for the project, which has been approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government for a second time.

“For many decades a lot of First Nations have been a part of the oil and gas industry and this opportunity to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline is a one-time opportunity and we’re hoping to make the best of it,” he said.

Clifford Sampare, a hereditary chief of the Gitxsan Nation, told the rally the pipeline expansion will bring benefits to all of B.C.

“Imagine the revenue it’ll generate for Canada,” he said.

The Canadian Press

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