BC New Democrat wants the pipeline expansion to be canceled. Jagmeet Singh says not so fast

OTTAWA – NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is not pushing to cancel the expansion of the government-owned Trans Mountain, even though a veteran MP in his group is calling for an immediate halt to construction of the controversial pipeline project.

Peter Julian, the NDP House Leader and longtime MP whose lead in British Columbia is close to where the Burrard Inlet pipeline ends, notified the House of Commons this week that he intend to file a motion calling on the government to “immediately stop” construction of the Trans Mountain expansion.

In an interview with The Star on Wednesday night, Julian said that the motion, which he has tabled in previous sessions of parliament, is a reflection of his personal views and is intended to express the position of many of his constituents that they don’t want to see the expansion project completed.

He stressed that he still supports the “national” position on the project expressed by Singh, who is opposed in principle to the expansion of the pipeline but does not call for construction to be stopped.

“It’s the difference between being a part of the caucus and presenting something as a private member,” Julian said. “A private member can express his views and express the views of his constituents, and that is what I have done here.”

The issue touches a delicate position for Singh’s NDP, which seeks to defend workers in all sectors of the economy while pushing for stronger action against climate change.

When the liberal government nationalized the project for $ 4.4 billion in 2018, to push forward the proposed expansion project, Singh routinely accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of failing to deliver on promised climate action. But the pipeline also sparked a dispute between the New Democratic governments in British Columbia and Alberta, and Singh’s opposition to the expansion soured relations with Rachel Notley when she was the prime minister of Alberta’s NDP.

Before the 2019 election, for example, Notley told the Star that the new federal Democrats “must go back to the drawing board and think about the workers.”

During this year’s federal elections, Singh clarified his position on the expansion project, which is already under construction and scheduled for completion in late 2022. He said he was opposed to the project and the public dollars that would go towards it, but I wouldn’t ‘Not necessarily cancel it. Instead, he said he would analyze the project if he won power before deciding whether to scrap it.

When asked about Julian’s motion on Wednesday, Singh said his position has not changed: he is not asking for the project to be canceled.

“I have always opposed the project, and once in government I said that we would evaluate and make the decision on what to do with the asset,” he said.

Julian’s movement goes further. Citing reports from Canada’s Energy Regulator and other bodies, he questions whether the additional capacity from the expansion is necessary to meet future Alberta oil demand. It also claims that the project “undermines” Canada’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that the billions of dollars spent on the project, which is estimated to cost at least $ 12.7 billion, should be earmarked. to fund a “Green New Deal for Canada” – a reference to a comprehensive program to transition to a cleaner economy while supporting workers and creating high-wage jobs.

Environmentalists have long opposed the pipeline project, which would nearly triple the amount of crude oil that the Trans Mountain system can transport from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia. Several First Nations communities along the route oppose its construction, while climate activists argue that it would lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions at a crucial time when leading scientists say Quick cuts to the pollution caused by climate change are needed. to limit the damage of a warming world.

However, the pipeline remains a key source of fuel for British Columbia’s populous Vancouver area, underscored by the way the recent devastating flooding in the province forced the line to close. On Monday, the Parkland Oil Refinery in Burnaby, BC said it would halt operations due to a lack of supply. The pause comes amid concerns over a gasoline shortage, as the British Columbia government asks motorists to limit themselves to 30 liters of fuel per visit at the province’s gas stations.


The conversations are the opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of conduct. The Star does not endorse these views.


Leave a Comment