Angali Appadurai wants the B.C. NDP to lead the pack when it comes to battling climate change.
The candidate for the NDP leadership spoke at a rally protesting the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion on Saturday in Burnaby.
“I’m going to fight to bring in the new energy and the leadership that we need to to become leaders on the climate file,” Appadurai told several dozen people in attendance.
“Our priorities need to be upon a different set of relations between our economy, our society and the land that we live on.”
Appadurai, 32, launched her NDP leadership campaign with promises to scrap Site C and the Trans Mountain pipeline and eliminate government subsidies from fossil fuel companies. She would reinvest money earmarked for those projects into a jobs transition strategy to move workers from the fossil fuel industry into the green economy.
“We have to understand our economy as inseparable from the climate and the health of the planet,” she said.
Alison Bodine, a rally organizer, called Appadurai a “leading activist” against the Trans Mountain pipeline and said that having her at the event would help to elevate the discussion around the pipeline and other critical climate issues.
“We want to hold all leaders accountable to their positions on Trans Mountain,” Bodine said.
Appadurai spoke alongside Squamish Elder Robert Nahanne and Indigenous salmon teacher, Tim Henry, at Saturday’s rally
Bodine said that the rally was a non-partisan event, organized by several organizations opposed to the pipeline, including Protect the Planet, stopTMX, Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder-Morgan Expansion and Climate Convergence, a grassroots climate justice organization where she is an organizer.
The salmon-bearing Stoney Creek in Burnaby is slated to be crossed by the TMX pipeline and Bodine said observers with Climate Convergence have already seen construction work, including the downing of trees and a disruption of the natural habitat of the creek.
“We will be back to the Stoney Creek area, where we are going to be keeping a very careful eye on Trans Mountain construction,” she said.
The rally comes after Trans Mountain finished drilling the 2.6-kilometre underground tunnel connecting Burnaby Terminal and Westridge Marine Terminal. The company called it a “major milestone” in the construction of the expansion project.
With drilling complete, the company said it would begin installing three pipelines through the tunnel.
Appadurai said her base of support is among grassroots party members and those focused on climate issues and fighting pipeline expansions, such as the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the $6-billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline.
Appadurai is the director of campaigns for the Climate Emergency Unit, a project of the David Suzuki Institute. She ran for the federal NDP in the 2021 election, narrowly losing the Vancouver-Granville riding by 258 votes to Liberal Taleeb Noormohamed, which was one of the closest races in the country.
With a file from Katie DeRosa.
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