Calgary man organizes pro-pipeline vigilante group to clean up Camp Cloud

Calgary man organizes pro-pipeline vigilante group to clean up Camp Cloud

CALGARY—A pro-pipeline vigilante group organized by a Calgary man intends to step in and remove the Camp Cloud protest site if legal efforts by Burnaby, B.C., to do so fail.

The camp was set up outside Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby Mountain facility last November to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. Two weeks ago, the city’s administration announced it would be filing a court injunction with British Columbia’s Supreme Court to have “all illegal structures, fires and facilities” at the camp removed, citing concerns about electrical and fire hazards, and the refusal of Camp Cloud to obey city bylaws. However, peaceful protests would still be allowed.

A ruling is expected Aug. 10. If the city’s injunction doesn’t go through, Cory Morgan, a Calgary-based libertarian blogger, and members of a Facebook group called “Citizens committee to evict Camp Cloud” plan on travelling to Burnaby around Aug. 18 to clean up the camp, anyway. Morgan sees Camp Cloud as a small but vocal symbol of opposition to the pipeline — and the inability of the government to legally remove it as a sign of weakness to potential investors in the Canadian oil industry.

“If we can’t see action on Camp Cloud, I don’t think that pipeline will ever go,” he said.

Morgan claimed Camp Cloud is full of graffiti, drug paraphernalia and garbage, and that Burnaby residents are complaining of harassment by camp members. He has referred to the Camp Cloud protesters as “drug-addled reprobates” on his Twitter account and titled a blog post on July 31: “Racists, junkies and sex offenders. Camp Cloud has it all.”
“This is a lawless little zone and it’s just beyond acceptable anymore,” Morgan said.

A spokesperson for Camp Cloud was not available for comment by press time. Their website claims the camp has a no-drug policy, but that some members do use medicinal marijuana.

Morgan shied away from using the term “vigilante” to describe the group, instead referring to them as an “irregular law enforcement group.” In their statement, the City of Burnaby said it “discourages any vigilante actions and irresponsible actions that can endanger public safety.”

The Facebook group has around 500 members from all over Western Canada — including Burnaby itself — but Morgan anticipates only about 10 per cent of them will be able to make it out to Burnaby on Aug. 18. Several drivers are offering to lend small buses — like those used to drive oilpatch crews to work sites — to the group, Morgan said. They’re still working on an exact course of action, although it’ll involve covering up traces of the camp.

“I’ve noticed they have graffiti everywhere on all the concrete barriers in the area, on the Kinder Morgan signs, everywhere else,” Morgan said. “Well, maybe 50 or 60 of us will come out with cans of white paint and we’ll paint over all of their crap.”

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