The reaction to the Liberal government’s approval of two pipelines has been swift.
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson came out swinging against the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline on Tuesday, which will run from Edmonton down to the city’s port.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s reaction was non-committal, noting that five conditions must be met before the provincial government supports the project.
The Trans Mountain pipeline will cross Alberta west from Edmonton to Jasper, until turning south just north of Valemount. The 1,150-kilometre route continues south through Clearwater, Kamloops, Merritt and Hope, before snaking through the Lower Mainland for tanker ship access in Vancouver.
The pipeline is not proposed to route through the Kootenay-Columbia region, however, MP Wayne Stetski said he was surprised and disappointed with the announcement.
“During the election, Justin Trudeau and the Liberal candidates all promised there would be a new stronger, more credible environmental assessment process,” said Stetski, “and more consultation with First Nations and communities before any of the pipeline proposals would move forward and that has not happened.
“Basically he used the same set of rules that Stephen Harper used to approve the pipeline and because of that, it really feels like he’s broken a promise particularly to British Columbians, but to Canadians as well.”
In addition to the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Liberals rubber-stamped the Line 3 project, a 1,659-kilometre pipeline that will run from Edmonton east across the Prairies and south into the U.S. state of Wisconsin.
Northern Gateway, a proposed pipeline from north of Edmonton to the port of Kitimat, was officially nixed following a Federal Court ruling in June that overturned an approval from the former Conservative government two years ago.
Stetski said he expects Liberal MPs in British Columbia will face some blowback for their government’s approval of the Trans Mountain project. He also referenced the public opposition that galvanized over logging in Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island in the 1980s and 1990s, noting that the coastal wilderness is one of the reasons for tourism booms in places like Tofino.
“The economies of places like Tofino in particular, as have many First Nations, have benefited from that result,” said Stetski, “and just talking with my colleagues, particularly from Vancouver area, this is going to — some would suggest — be even louder and stronger than that protest around Clayoquot Sound.
“There have already been rallies down on the coast and as far as Winnipeg even, so it’s unfortunate because it’s basically a betrayal of election promises and a betrayal of the trust that many in British Columbia put in the Liberal government to do the right thing.”