Two women sentenced in BC over TMX protest

According to the environmental group Protect the Planet, Kelsall received an additional seven days for donning a dinosaur head mask and 'defiantly roaring' at the judge after her court appearance.

Two women sentenced in BC over TMX protest
TikTok / papacolour
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Two women received a prison sentence in British Columbia of three weeks for their involvement in a Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX) protest in Burnaby last year.

Emily Kelsall and Maya Laframboise, both 24, wore t-rex costumes in an off-limits area of the TMX construction site in May 2022. Local law enforcement arrested both individuals after they continued to trespass by playing badminton on-site.

Kelsall and Laframboise pled guilty to criminal contempt charges for their stunt, as it violated a 2018 court injunction against blockades at the work site.

On Friday, BC's Supreme Court ordered Laframboise to serve 21 days in jail and $1,240 restitution and 28 days in prison and $1,240 restitution for Kelsall.

According to the environmental group Protect the Planet, Kelsall received an additional seven days for donning a dinosaur head mask and "defiantly roaring" at the judge after her court appearance. Both women will be taken to Alouette Correctional Centre for Women to complete their brief sentences.

"I'm proud to join the ranks of activists, land defenders, and water protectors who had come before me and served time in jail," said Kelsall in a statement to Protect the Planet. "TMX must be stopped, and it's apparently up to us ordinary T-Rexes and other citizens to make this happen."

In 2018, the Trudeau Liberals initially paid $4.5 billion to own the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in a bid to almost triple the amount of crude oil moving from Alberta to customers overseas. The 1,150 km pipeline carries 300,000 barrels of oil daily and is Canada's only pipeline system transporting oil from Alberta to the West Coast. 

However, senior energy executives criticized Canada's "unpredictable provincial governments" for discouraging significant capital investment into energy infrastructure.

In February, Trans Mountain Corp. blamed the surging cost projections for the project on the COVID pandemic and the effects of the November 2021 flood in BC. The Trudeau Liberals said they would no longer subsidize the pipeline expansion project, which cost taxpayers $21.4 billion.

Trans Mountain Corp. also attributed the price hike partly to increased security costs, which Coastal GasLink is familiar with, having faced several incidents at their sites over the past year.

Last February, a group of unknown assailants attacked a Coastal GasLink site near Houston, BC, injuring employees and damaging heavy equipment. According to the RCMP, 20 people armed with axes stormed security guards, costing millions in damage.

Their whereabouts remain unknown, and a $100,000 reward remains open for information concerning the incident.

In November, five protesters opposed the construction of Coastal GasLink in a contentious blockade that lasted several days. They plead guilty to criminal contempt for defying a court injunction that prohibited their demonstration.

The assailants either received $500 fines or a punishment of 25 hours of community service.

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  • By Alexandra Lavoie

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