Are Trans Mountain activists escalating harassment of Kinder Morgan, supporters?
Would Mahatma Ghandi approve? Trans Mountain activists confronted Kinder Morgan employees at a restaurant in North Vancouver Monday as the environmental movement turns up the heat on the pipeline project.
As the video below shows, the protestors – allegedly including David Suzuki’s grandson, Tamo Campos – filed into the Fishworks Restaurant banging drums, videoing the energy company employees, and disrupting the dinner. The video was later posted to a Youtube account called Beyond Boarding, an organization founded by Campos.
The activists targeted the wrong employees. The folks enjoying their meal at Fishworks work for Vancouver Wharves, a division of Kinder Morgan that has nothing to do with the Trans Mountain project.
A couple of employees can be seen scuffling with activists in the video, but no one was hurt and the youth, most of them with faces masked by signs saying “Climate Justice,” didn’t appear to stay long in the restaurant.
Police eventually showed up, but no one was arrested.
Protestors were arrested on Burnaby Mountain two months ago, but the charges were dropped against most of them after it was discovered Kinder Morgan gave the court wrong GPS coordinates.
The Burnaby Mountain protests were well organized and peaceful.
Are the anti-Trans Mountain protestors changing their tactics?
“We have seen over the last several months an escalation that I would portray in certain incidences as being more personal,” Ali Hounsell, a spokeswoman for Kinder Morgan told media Tuesday. “Some of our contractors that have been public about their work with the company have had their places of work vandalized. There’s been personal attacks on a couple of professors from (Simon Fraser University) who were involved in a study with us, who have had some unfortunate harassment at their labs. There’s been harassing phone calls. There’s been a few things like that. ”
I heard – but have not yet confirmed – of a pipeline community relations manager for an LNG project who was physically intimidated at a rally. Activists later started a phone harassment campaign, calling her in the middle of the night on her home and cell numbers. To stop the harassment, she eventually had to have all her numbers changed.
The Fishworks protest suggests harassment is quickly becoming standard operating procedure.
I wonder how David Suzuki would feel if Ian Anderson, president of Kinder Morgan Canada, began calling him at home in the middle of the night to protest his grandson’s bullying tactics?
And what about the video? Journalists know they can take photos and video of people in public places, but not on private property – like Fishworks – especially if the subjects have asked you to stop. Civil lawsuits are usually the remedy for that sort of personal violation.
Campos and the other activists achieved their objective, local media coverage and drawing attention to their cause. From their point of view the stunt was a great success.
Why would they stop?
Canadians should be able to enjoy dinner at a restaurant or the privacy of their home without being harassed by activists.
If this type of stunt is repeated, time for the police to get serious and clap a few of the activists in leg irons. Otherwise, not taking action simply declares open season on Kinder Morgan employees, contractors, and perhaps even supporters.
Update: “Trans Mountain firmly believes in the right to freedom of expression and has encouraged and participated in conversations about our Project with people who hold a variety of views and perspectives. Our team has spoken with supporters and opponents at open houses, on telephone town halls, by email, at community meetings and many other venues and we continue to facilitate and encourage those kinds of conversations. It is an unfortunate situation when the police have to be called to a private dinner function involving employees and their spouses due to protests. That said, we understand people are passionate about the Project and we continue to welcome healthy and respectful dialogue about the issues.”
– Ali Hounsell, Kinder Morgan spokesperson.
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