On May 31st I went to Victoria to photograph–and participate in–a Transmountain Pipeline protest. I overheard a reporter saying there were 700 people. At its peak, there could have been 1000. The protest was in response to the controversial purchase/bailout of the Kinder Morgan project by the Trudeau Liberal Government for $4.5 billion dollars.The actual cost has been estimated at closer to $15 billion because it doesn’t include construction costs just what is existing. The funds are believed to be pension funds. The buyout includes the purchase of business agreements with First Nations such as new infrastructures, sports complexes, monetary payouts, etc. As these now belong to our Government, they will essentially become countless new treaties.Trudeau gathered votes on the West Coast by promising there would be no Transmountain Pipeline without consent. He also promised clean water to First Nations and made other promises in regards to missing and murdered Indigenous women. He then broke these promises in Harvey Weinstein-like fashion. Trudeau’s young enough to know what consent means and not “a product of his time” like his predecessors. The lies had to have been calculated and deliberate. If our legal system continues along the same projectory, a generation or so in the future these recorded statements will be used in court for millions.The more I read about this pipeline the more I oppose it. This doesn’t just include facts about recent spills, bitumen, tanker traffic, economics, jobs, etc. This also includes statements and comments made by supporters beneath news stories, etc. I figure that if all the racists and waste-of-life online trolls are on the same side it’s definitely the wrong one.This is what real courage looks like. Being a battle group veteran I know. It’s standing up for others who are being treated disgracefully, fighting for our children, and for our planet. I honestly believe we’re nearing an End without immediate change. Canada is already one of the biggest polluters on the planet. We’re breaking an international agreement by accepting this. If Brazil can run half their vehicles on fuel created from sugar cane, and other countries have deadlines for zero fossil fuels, then what are we doing? Those making billions have spun this into a fight about jobs and survival. With a floundering economy in Alberta, this single project has become the perfect scapegoat. One company, one pipeline, over a hundred thousand make-believe jobs, lies about train transport, national interest, etc. This isn’t the spine of Canada. This is one fictitious project that has never even existed. Only mindless people would look at it any different once they stopped to think about it.I participated as well as documented. With family and friends on both sides of this issue I have been reluctant to get more involved until now. This is my home though. If it isn’t yours then your opinion doesn’t matter. This is what consent is. It doesn’t mean finding someone from somewhere else who agrees with you and toting them across a stage because of their skin colour. That evidence of consent wouldn’t be called into testimony in a rape case so why accept it here? This is also a human rights issue. Everyone deserves clean drinking water especially in 2018. Treaties were intentionally deceptive and accepted with goodwill. 98% of the Indigenous people were killed or forced to assimilate. As far as I’m concerned, surviving Indigenous knowledge and title is an invaluable National Treasure we need to preserve. We should be celebrating those who have survived. Instead, white corporate news rarely even covers gross injustices. This is Canada’s Apartheid.The Victoria protest wove through downtown and shut down intersections. At one point an eagle (I’m not shitting you) soared above the crowd. Elders spoke and drummers drummed. People of all ages participated. People of all backgrounds. People who are determined to be on “the right side of history.” People who care about Indigenous lives.It’s more important than ever to document these injustices and to speak up. Our Prime Minister and Premier both made the same promise to us in regards to this pipeline. I voted for both of them. Only one of them kept his word. As a nonfiction Vancouver Island writer who calls this land home, who relies on its pristine preservation for business, and who calls First Nations peoples my friends, it’s important I continue to document these events and peacefully protest. If I end up at odds with friends and family–who do support this–then I will take on a larger role at that time.I will be at my MP’s office in Nanaimo on Monday, June 4th. If you feel you are ready to stand up then I encourage you to do the same–wherever you live. For more info go here.