Protecting our coastline
I responded to a Private Members’ Motion that was originally put forward by MLA Dan Davies (Peace River North). As Mr. Davies is away, MLA Peter Milobar (Kamloops-North Thompson) put the motion on the floor.
The motion is as follows…
Be it resolved that this House urge the Government of B.C. to engage with the federal government and the Alberta government to resolve the current trade impasse.
You can see the full text of the “debate” here (starting at 11:00am) – https://www.leg.bc.ca/documents-data/debate-transcripts/41st-parliament/3rd-session/20180416am-House-Blues
I’d like to thank the member for Kamloops–North Thompson for introducing the motion we have before us today.
When there are disagreements in our federation, there are few things more important than engaging one another to resolve disputes. I only wish there was a more honest conversation taking place. One where fact and not rhetoric was the driving force.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his federal government’s promise this weekend to give Ottawa control over the project and the commitment of hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ dollars that this will require is not an evidence-based decision. It’s a political one. This aggressive new position is intended to ram this pipeline through in spite of community opposition, a lack of evidence about the fate of bitumen in coastal waters and the commitment to good-faith First Nations consultation and to taking climate leadership seriously.
This is in stark contrast — stark contrast — to the Liberal Party’s commitments in the election where we heard that while governments grant permits, only communities can grant permission. We heard that true reconciliation was on the horizon and that there were few ambitions more important than the relationship with Indigenous peoples and becoming a leader in climate action.
Instead, we now have the federal government tying their legitimacy to a pipeline whose economics is on increasingly uncertain ground due to changing global oil markets. The dispute we are now in was entirely foreseeable. Indeed, the three-person panel that Justin Trudeau struck to look at the project highlighted exactly these issues and posed important questions to the government that they hoped would inform the government’s next steps.
To quote the last paragraph of the report:
“The issues raised by the Trans Mountain pipeline proposal are among the most controversial in the country, perhaps the world, today: the rights of Indigenous people, the future of fossil fuel development in the face of climate change and the health of the marine environment already burdened by a century of cumulative effects. There are matters of public safety and environmental sustainability overlaid against economic need in a province where a once strong resource sector is currently under severe strain.”
There is an easy and lazy narrative — an easy and lazy narrative — pushed by Kinder Morgan to lay this dispute at the feet of our provincial government. The reality is that the federal government failed to follow through on their own election commitments, and they are now poised to use taxpayers’ dollars to push this project through despite valid provincial concerns about the impacts bitumen will have in our coastal communities and our economy.
The provincial government’s entirely reasonable and evidence-driven response has been to seek clarity about what regulations are within our jurisdiction to protect our province’s coastline. So yes, let’s urge the government of B.C. to continue to engage with the federal and provincial governments of Alberta, but let’s also urge them to stand their ground for evidence-based decision-making and B.C.’s right to protect our economy, to protect our environment and to protect our people.