BY BOB ZIMMER
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP
Here in northern B.C. we understand the importance of the responsible development of our natural resources to our local and national economy. That is why it has been so unfortunate to watch the escalating dispute between British Columbia and Alberta over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline project.
The proposal by the B.C. government to restrict the flow of bitumen through the province effectively stalled the already approved Trans Mountain Pipeline and Alberta’s response of boycotting all imports of wines from British Columbia created an interprovincial dispute that threatened the livelihoods of people in both British Columbia and Alberta.
The B.C. government has since made the decision not to proceed with the proposed restrictions and will take up the issue in court instead and Alberta has suspended its ban on B.C.’s wine imports.
There is no doubt that this situation escalated due to a lack of leadership from the prime minister and his failure to stand up for Canada’s natural resource industry and the jobs that depend on it.
Instead of being open with Canadians about how he will get construction moving on this pipeline and settle the interprovincial trade dispute, he chose a hands-off approach that left Canadians in the dark.
The Trans Mountain pipeline project already went through an independent, scientific, evidence-based decision-making process that clearly showed that the pipeline could be expanded safely. The completion of this project is in Canada’s vital national interest and will create jobs and opportunities across the entire country.
I, along with my Conservative colleagues, understand the importance of natural resource projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline. It is why we have worked so hard to champion and support projects like it and the now-cancelled Energy East pipeline in Question Period and across the country. The Energy East pipeline project alone would have created over 14,000 jobs during its construction and over 3,300 during its first 20 years of operation. By rejecting the Energy East project, the prime minister apparently supports the importation of oil from countries with less than acceptable human rights records like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia over our own domestic oil. The same could also be said of B.C. Premier John Horgan with his attempts to delay the Trans Mountain pipeline.
It’s unfortunate that since taking office the Liberal government has chosen to introduce new, unnecessary regulations on Canadian energy projects and forced Canadian companies to comply with standards that are not required for foreign companies that export oil to Canadian markets. While they may initially ‘approve’ certain projects, they are essentially killing them through over-regulation.
Let us hope that the Trans Mountain pipeline will not become another missed opportunity by the Liberal government like the Energy East pipeline.
In the meantime, I will continue to offer my strong support for the responsible development of our natural resources and will continue to push the Liberal government to do the right thing and provide regulatory certainty, predictability, and clarity to ensure the viability of major projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline.