Canada's Original Think Tank

Trans Mountain Pipeline

Trans Mountain Pipeline

Trans Mountain Pipeline

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: 

Minister, I would like to thank you for your presence in the Senate today. I am from British Columbia, and I live on the North Shore where I enjoy my beautiful province and its attributes, as do all British Columbians. We British Columbians are worried as to what will happen to our province and our lakes. More importantly, British Columbians are concerned about the heritage we will leave to our grandchildren.

Last Friday, the leader of the Green Party of Canada and member of Parliament, Elizabeth May, was arrested in Burnaby at the Trans Mountain pipeline protest. As she was led away, she put some questions about why she was protesting.

I have had many people from British Columbia call me and say, “Get an answer from the government to the questions she was asking,” and I’m fortunate that you are here today.

These are the questions she asked, and I would like to supply the answers and what the government has to say to her concerns. I have put my questions in front of you so that you would have them right there.

First, she asked why the crude bitumen has to be transported and not refined in Alberta, as it would save hundreds of lakes.

Second, she believes that the permits issued to Kinder Morgan did not represent a proper process. She said that the permits that were issued to Kinder Morgan do not respect the rights of interveners nor the rights of Indigenous peoples on these territories. She said the commitment to build a pipeline in 2018 while we are in a climate crisis is a crime against future generations.

Minister, I have one question: How do we respond to Elizabeth May’s concerns? More importantly, how do we tell British Columbians that the pipeline is for our benefit, as well?

Hon. Jim Carr, P.C., M.P., Minister of Natural Resources: It is to the benefit of all Canadians, including British Columbians, for the reasons that I suggested.

Perhaps the senator knows that diluted bitumen has been running through that pipe for 30 years and that the pipeline was built in 1953.

Perhaps the senator knows about all of this talk about increased traffic in the Burrard Inlet; there are people who like to say that it is an increase of 700 per cent. That’s right: from five a month to 35 a month. One a day — an increase of one double-hulled tanker a day — in the safety of escorts, in a world-class regime that reflects $1.5 billion of investment into our coastlines — not only the British Columbia coastline, but all of our coastlines.

It’s very important for me to emphasize — and I’m glad I have a chance to emphasize it in front of the senators today — that there is no conversation possible in Canada or anywhere else in the world, any more, about developing resources without attention paid to environmental stewardship at the highest levels and, may I also add, without meaningful consultation with Indigenous peoples.

We believe those are the three pillars of a successful policy for Canada. We believe we are following all three.

What else did you want me to say about Elizabeth May? Is that enough?