Yesterday was epic in rainfall, in the power of the people and the scope of the message we delivered. Most of the pictures a blurry with rain, cell phones died and people shivered but refused to leave and we saw this journey through!
We began assembling at the canoes in the dark. An ex- salmon farmer gave Global TV a live interview about the secrecy over disease in the salmon feedlots. Mayor Gregor Robertson and his wife arrived to paddle with us. Despite the storm enough people assembled on the beach to fill the canoes.
The water was rough and so we all checked each other's life jackets to make sure we could pull each other out by the jackets. Darwin and Sue of Fraser River Rafts watched us closely, ready for anything. As we progressed from Jericho to Vanier I kept glancing at them and knew all was OK every time I saw them flanking us.
When we arrived we were wonderfully greeted
The media attended
Hundreds of people were there getting soaked but smiling and we began walking. The police escorted us and when they saw the size of the crowd made the decision to give us a lane of the Burrard St Bridge. They saw to our safety and I would like to extend my thanks to all the officers that placed themselves between us and the fast moving traffic.
We stretched nearly the entire length of the bridge.
And then we walked through the streets of Vancouver
The Friends of Clayoquot Sound came out to support this!
A small group of us then took the elevator up to the Cohen Commission.
Chief Chamberlin, and I took the signed scroll into the hearing and stood silently until Justice Cohen looked at the scroll, then we nodded our support to him and walked out. There was a lot of media sequestered in a side room and they were eager to speak to us and so we told them we had paddled the lower Fraser River from Hope and walked through the streets of Vancouver simply to support Justice Cohen in ordering complete disclosure of the salmon feedlot disease records. This is so important because the biological effluent from these industrial operations passes over the gills of every wild salmon swimming the eastern shorelines of Vancouver Island, as well as most of the westcoast inlets. DFO has evidence that a new virus has challenged, weakened and killed a high proportion of juvenile and adult Fraser River sockeye since 2003. Salmon from the Atlantic packed by the millions into feedlots on the Fraser sockeye migration routes would seem THE most likely source of this new virus.
We were so wet we pooled water on the floor.
Picture removed and apology extended to Mr. Clare Backman of Marine Harvest
We left and joined the crowd at the Vancouver Art Gallery
I was so proud to stand with Chief Marilyn Baptiste who has put herself on the line for her home and Fish Lake and paddled with us to lend the power of her name and presence.
The powerful and dedicated Fin Donnelly spoke about his bill C-518 to move salmon feedlots out of our ocean. Fin is an MP and not only has he swum the entire Fraser River, he leads youth on canoes down the river every summer to teach them how to be leaders. I wish every riding in BC had someone like Fin Donnelly to vote for.
My heart is full. I have seen the very best of humanity all around me through out this arduous journey. Our journey echoes many greater journeys with the same message. Governments regularly forget that they are hired to serve the people. It is our right, duty and imperative to our very survival to stand powerfully and peacefully for our future.
My deepest thanks to each and every one of you who paddled, who found time to stand to greet us, carry food to us, serve coffee, interview us, provide the boats, bless us, stand with us, sleep with the canoes in the pouring rain, cry, laugh, shiver and sneeze with us. I don't want us to scatter to the winds, please sign up at wildsalmonpeople.ca and form a voting block....a way to guide our future while staying dry.
You have my deepest respect thank you for staying safe and peaceful.
Until we meet again,