News that the Federal Court of Appeal had ruled against the approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project sent shock waves throughout the region and across the country.
After over a year and a half of waiting for the Liberal government to come up with a concrete plan to ensure that this project is completed, Canadians are now left wondering where do we go from here?
To add insult to injury, shortly after the ruling Kinder Morgan shareholders voted to approve the sale of the pipeline, leaving Canadian taxpayers on the hook for a pipeline that the government isn’t even allowed to build.
The fact that the court ruled that the prime minister failed to meet his own standards when it came to the consultation process is troubling. By failing to adapt to the changing legal landscape, the Liberals have failed our workers and the Indigenous Canadians who saw the economic potential in the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Further cited in the ruling was the fact that project-related tanker traffic was not included in the review. It is projected that the expansion will increase the number of tankers needed from five per month to approximately 34, meaning an additional one ship each day.
Under our previous Conservative government, measures were taken to strengthen an already robust tanker safety system and when you compare the amount of tanker traffic in ports around Canada and the world, it is clear that this increased traffic can be done safely.
For example, in the Netherlands, the Port of Rotterdam sees approximately 30,000 deep-sea vessels, including 8,200 tankers each year. In 2016, the Straits of Malacca and Singapore saw over 25,000 tankers, up almost 7 per cent from the previous year.
In Canada, according to Transport Canada, each year tankers already carry about 80 million tonnes of oil safely from our coasts. In fact, oil tankers have been moving safely and regularly along Canada’s West Coast since the 1930s.
As we know here in Northeastern BC, it is vital that we get our resources to international markets. The future of our national economy depends on it.
I share in your frustration with the Liberal government’s gross mishandling of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project. I know many of you are angry, and you have every right to be. The livelihoods of hardworking men and women in our resource sector depend on important projects like this one.
My Conservative colleagues and I will continue to push the Liberal government to stand up for this sector, come up with a plan to ensure that this pipeline project is built, and fix this mess of their own making.