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O.M.G. Federal Liberals back Tories’ motion on Trans Mountain pipeline


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Federal Liberals back Tories’ motion on Trans Mountain pipeline

 By Mia Rabson  The Canadian Press    

The federal Liberal government has thrown its weight behind an Opposition motion backing Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, even as political turmoil in British Columbia threatens the project’s future.

The motion, introduced in the House of Commons by Conservative MP Mark Strahl, affirms that the project has social licence to proceed, is critical to the economy, is environmentally sound and should proceed as planned.

It passed Tuesday by a vote of 252-51, with the backing of the Conservatives and all Liberal MPs, except two B.C. backbenchers who have criticized the project in the past. Terry Beech and Hedy Fry both voted against the project. Neither were available to speak about their vote Tuesday.

B.C. MP Joyce Murray, who has also publicly opposed the project, was absent for the vote.

The NDP and Green party Leader Elizabeth May opposed the motion, in line with their provincial counterparts in British Columbia who last weekend signed a co-operation agreement which included plans to jointly oppose the pipeline.

READ MORE: BC NDP and Greens to push legal challenge of Trans Mountain pipeline

Watch below: On May 30, 2017, Reid Fiest filed this report amid uncertainty about who would form British Columbia’s government and how that was adding to the unclear future of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. 

While Liberal Premier Christy Clark won the most seats in the B.C. election last month, together the NDP and Greens have one more seat than the Liberals and could topple them in a confidence vote before the end of the month.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last fall approved the project to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C. Clark came to support it in January after five conditions she placed on it had been met.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau says he’ll work with B.C. and Alberta on Trans Mountain

Clark’s support for the pipeline likely cost her seats in the election, where the pipeline was a big issue for voters.

The pipeline falls under federal jurisdiction, but the province could at least delay its construction by withdrawing environmental approval or refusing construction permits, forcing Ottawa to go to court.

In speaking to his motion June 1, Strahl said he thinks Trudeau needs to travel to B.C. to defend the pipeline in front of its skeptics.

“It is easy to give a speech about approving a pipeline in Calgary to oil executives there,” Strahl said. “It is tougher to come to a skeptical audience in British Columbia and sell the merits of the pipeline. That is what we are calling on him to do. We are calling on the prime minister to come to British Columbia.”

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr last week said the government would support Strahl’s motion motion because the project remains a sound one with licence to proceed even if the idea of aligning with the Conservatives is “a source of discomfort.”

Carr said no matter what happens with the British Columbia government, it doesn’t change the facts about the project. He added his government was able to get the social licence to move forward by consulting widely, including with indigenous communities, and listening to concerns.

“While the government in B.C. may change, the facts, the science, the evidence, the environmental considerations, the economic benefits, and the jobs all remain unchanged,” he said.

Kinder Morgan is in the midst of responding to all 157 conditions placed on the pipeline’s construction by the National Energy Board. Some hope construction could begin as early as this fall, but the election turmoil could easily throw a wrench in that plan.

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I have long advocated for an inspection station at the BC-Alberta border that would turn away any trucks with goods onboard that came through the Port of Vancouver and charge an exorbitant fee for any vehicle with BC licence plates.

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You are not telling me that such goods arrive in (dirty word here) oil fired, whale threatening, ocean going vessels that provide jobs in BC and fees to the harbour operators? :D

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  • 2 months later...

Another side to energy disputes.

Amid Trans Mountain uncertainty, pro-pipeline Indigenous peoples make a pitch for development

It's a 'myth' that First Nation interests are always aligned with environmentalists, First Nations leader says

By John Paul Tasker, CBC NewsPosted: Aug 21, 2017 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Aug 21, 2017 5:00 AM ET


About The Author

Photo of John Paul Tasker

John Paul Tasker
Parliamentary Bureau

John Paul (J.P.) Tasker is a reporter in the CBC's Parliamentary bureau in Ottawa. He can be reached at john.tasker@cbc.ca.

Some Indigenous leaders in B.C. scored a major victory recently after they successfully lobbied Premier John Horgan to join a legal fight to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The $7.4 billion project, which got the green light from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last fall, now faces an uncertain future in the face of vehement opposition from some anti-pipeline protesters, which count many First Nations peoples among their ranks.

But there are voices on the other side of the divide who want to stake their claim in this fractious debate: Indigenous peoples who are decidedly pro-development. These groups see pipeline projects as a potential boon for communities eager to lessen dependence on the federal government and its control over their financial destiny.

"The reality is it is the only way forward. There's nothing else," Calvin Harris, an executive with the Eagle Spirit Energy, a company that hopes to build an Indigenous-owned pipeline from the Alberta oilsands to the B.C. coast, said in an interview with CBC News.

Harris said there are few economic alternatives for many rural and remote Indigenous communities where there are unemployment rates in excess of 90 per cent.

Indigenous-owned Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings has sought to build a pipeline from the oilsands to the north coast of British Columbia.

"Ordinary First Nations people want the same opportunities every other Canadian aspires to. But there's also a group of Indigenous people out there, I call them Facebook warriors, they oppose everything, and they never want anything to change. But I believe there's a middle way."

'What's in it for us?'

Harris, a member of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation near Prince Rupert, B.C., and a leading advocate for Indigenous self-reliance, said energy development can help First Nations people ease into the mainstream economy and end a cycle of dependency that has been fostered by racist policies designed to subjugate Indigenous communities.

Harris said the old paradigm — where energy companies imposed their will on First Nations people without offering meaningful benefits in return — is over.

"The debate is extremely polarized," said Stephen Buffalo, with the Indian Resource Council, about pipeline development in Canada. (CBC)

"We're asking, 'What's in it for us?' We're not going to accept big companies extracting the wealth and leaving us with a big environmental mess. We want real equity in these projects."

Stephen Buffalo, the president and CEO of the Indian Resource Council of Canada, said he wants to help First Nations "see the light" and the considerable economic benefits they stand to gain if they cash in. "We, the oil and gas-producing First Nations, we're willing to take an advocacy position, help educate and defeat some myths about pipelines."


"There's a lot of money going through those pipes, and First Nations can't stand to the side and watch it go by," he said in an interview with CBC News.

Buffalo, who hails from Samson Cree Nation south of Edmonton, said Kinder Morgan — the company behind Trans Mountain — could secure more Indigenous support if it actually gave First Nations people an ownership stake. The company has so far failed to cut a deal.

'Frontlines of reconciliation'


More than 300 impact and benefit agreements have been signed between energy proponents and Indigenous communities in the last decade, deals worth millions of dollars and thousands of jobs, according to research compiled by Ken Coates, a professor at the University of Saskatchewan who has written extensively on Indigenous rights, northern development and northern Canadian history.

'A joint venture is not as exciting as a blockade, so we don't hear about them because we all know conflict generates more media interest.'- Ken Coates

"A joint venture is not as exciting as a blockade, so we don't hear about them because we all know conflict generates more media interest. But the change in recent years has been revolutionary," Coates said, adding First Nations and Métis communities have taken real ownership stakes in the oil and gas sector.

Two Alberta First Nations, Fort McKay and Mikisew Cree, for example, recently bought part of a Suncor tank storage facility worth in excess of $350 million.

Fort McKay First Nation, situated near the epicentre of the Athabasca oil sands deposits, has an unemployment rate of zero, an average annual income of $120,000, and financial holdings in excess of $2 billion, thanks to its willingness to do business.

Chief Jim Boucher of the Fort McKay First Nation says his community has seen a financial windfall from its involvement in oil and gas extraction. (CBC News)

There are another 327 Indigenous-owned enterprises that do business with oil and gas operations in Alberta alone, according to data supplied by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The energy industry has procured some $10 billion in goods and services from those companies over the last 15 years, everything from construction work, to staffing, to equipment rental and catering — economic activity that has fostered an Indigenous middle class in the northern reaches of the province.

It's not just in the oil patch; the Haisla Nation in B.C. is a major partner of the proposed Kitimat LNG facility and the Pacific Trail Pipeline. In northern Saskatchewan, seven First Nations recently signed a $600 million deal in support of massive uranium mining operations in the region that employ hundreds of locals.

"I would argue that the natural resource sector is actually on the frontlines of reconciliation," Coates said. "It's an industry where people have actually been working closely together, where there's good collaboration and partnerships."

'First Nations aren't always aligned with environmentalists'

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, of the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs, is decidedly on the other side of this debate, arguing a spill of diluted bitumen would be devastating to coastal First Nations, many of which rely on the water for subsistence.

"The transport and conveyance of toxic materials is a concern of all British Columbians. We do not for a moment need dirty oil coming through any pipeline system," Phillip has said. "Mark my words. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project will never see the light of day."

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, has bowed to block the Trans Mountain pipeline. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

While they want to make money, pro-development First Nations also want assurances that environmental protection will come above all else. "Bill Cinton said, 'It's the economy stupid,' well, for First Nations people, it's the environment stupid," Harris said.

"But the other myth out there is that First Nation interests are always aligned with environmentalists and that's just not the case at all. We don't need snobby academic types from San Francisco, Vancouver or Toronto looking down their noses at us telling us what to do on the territory we've managed for 13,000 years," Harris said.

Buffalo wants his fellow First Nations to speak for themselves and not be co-opted by green activists or celebrities who drop in by helicopter for an afternoon of activism.

"We want to protect mother earth, too, but we also need the money to meet the needs of our communities as they grow. We've got to find another avenue because government is not giving us anymore," he said.

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I read something (can't find the reference now) but it pointed out some irony in the green thinking in BC. If the Green Party and NDP are so concerned about the pipelines and a possible oil spill, why are they silent about the city of Victoria dumping millions of litres of raw sewage into the ocean every day?

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Because politicians are very concerned about blow-back to their previous convictions.

There is no sewage treatment in Victoria because no one wants the plant in their constituency.  That is also why 'man made climate change' is so popular with politicians.  They can blame anyone else besides themselves.  While at the same time being able to be seen as dealing with the problem by raising taxes.

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10 hours ago, st27 said:

I read something (can't find the reference now) but it pointed out some irony in the green thinking in BC. If the Green Party and NDP are so concerned about the pipelines and a possible oil spill, why are they silent about the city of Victoria dumping millions of litres of raw sewage into the ocean every day?

Here is what I posted on the subject: 



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  • 3 months later...
December 7, 2017 3:16 pm
Updated: December 7, 2017 6:01 pm

Trans Mountain pipeline doesn’t have to follow Burnaby, B.C. bylaw sections, can start work: NEB

By Jesse Ferreras and Estefania Duran Global NewsListen

The National Energy Board (NEB) has ruled in favour of the Trans Mountain pipeline, saying the company pushing the project does not have to comply with two sections of the City of Burnaby’s bylaws.

The sections had required Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC to have preliminary plans and tree-cutting permits for project-related work approved by the city, said a Thursday news release.

Trans Mountain had raised constitutional questions about those bylaws, saying they don’t apply to work that the company planned to undertake at its Burnaby Terminal, its Westridge Marine Terminal, and at a temporary

With the decision in place, Trans Mountain can go ahead and start work at those sites.However, the decision does not mean that Trans Mountain has been absolved from complying with other City of Burnaby bylaws, the NEB’s order said.


‘Abuse of federal powers’

“We believe that this is an abuse of federal powers, and city staff are shocked by the NEB’s decision,” Mayor Derek Corrigan said in a news release.

“City staff have been reviewing Kinder Morgan’s construction applications in good faith, focusing both on citizen safety and mitigation of environmental damage.”

The $7.4-billion project will expand an existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Edmonton and Burnaby.

The proposal was first put forward in 2013.

The National Energy Board (NEB) approved the expansion in 2016, subject to 157 conditions.


The project will involve 980 kilometres of new pipeline, 12 new pump stations and 20 new tanks.

The new line will carry heavier oil, known as bitumen, diluted with a chemical condensate and pump close to 900,000 barrels a day. This would almost triple its current capacity.

The pipeline proposal has prompted opposition from environmentalists, First Nations, and the British Columbia’s NDP government.

READ MORE: Stakeholders divided over BC NDP plans for Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was “very pleased” with the decision.

“It probably means that the NEB has accepted our argument that of course this is a project that is in the national interest, and as a result we can’t have individual jurisdictions interfering with it,” she said.

“There’s not a road, there’s not a bike lane, there’s not a hospital, there’s not a school anywhere in Canada that doesn’t owe something to a strong energy industry in Canada.”

Ian Anderson, the president of pipeline proponent Kinder Morgan Canada, said, “We are pleased with the decision we have received from the NEB today.”

Also happy with the decision? Tim McMillan, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).

He noted that it shows federal permits will “not be delayed at the local level.”

~With files from The Canadian Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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