VANCOUVER — In 1970, Jane Fonda was arrested while marching with indigenous people during the occupation of Fort Lawton in Seattle, Wa.
Forty-five years later, the Academy Award-winning actress says she’s willing to be placed in handcuffs again while defending British Columbia’s coast from oil tankers.
“I have a hit TV show now. If I get arrested it’ll bring even more attention to the issue,” Fonda deadpanned in an interview with The Canadian Press. “I hope I get arrested.”
Fonda, currently starring in the Netflix comedy “Grace and Frankie,” was in Vancouver on Saturday to speak at a Greenpeace rally. Protesters at the “Toast the Coast” event were planning to demonstrate against oil sands development, tanker traffic and Arctic drilling.
The tenacious activist said she stands with local First Nations who have opposed Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which would lay almost 1,000 kilometres of new pipe along an existing line from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C.
If approved by the National Energy Board, the project would triple the pipeline’s bitumen-carrying capacity to 890,000 barrels a day and increase the number of tankers in Burrard Inlet seven-fold.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen,” said Fonda. “What is just so moving to me is that it’s First Nations people who are at the front lines of stopping the expansion and stopping the pipelines.
“Of course, oil companies are still trying to push them through and they will continue to try. First Nations people — with a whole lot of us standing behind them and alongside them — are going to try to stop it and I think we’re going to succeed.”
The 77-year-old star said she was inspired by Canadian author Naomi Klein’s latest book, “This Changes Everything,” which targets climate change as the era’s most pressing issue.
“It absolutely racked me and brought me back to the barricades. I’m going to commit the rest of my life to stopping global warming by preventing fossil fuels from being extracted,” said Fonda.
She said development of the Alberta oil sands must stop, adding that she hopes Canadians signal their opposition to the industry at the next federal election.
Fonda said she wants to be on the “right side of history” when it comes to fossil fuels.
“Committing the rest of my life is no big deal, I don’t have that much left,” she quipped.
“But my grandchildren have a lot left and I want them to be able to feel proud of me, to feel that … I did every single possible thing I could do to make their world a livable world.”