Christy Clark ready to support Kinder Morgan pipeline if her five conditions are met
Trudeau government stands by its decision
The Trans Mountain expansion is a proposal to add 980 kilometres of brand new pipeline to triple the capacity of an existing pipeline system from the oilsands in Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. While supporters of the project argue that it will revitalize slumping oil economies and get Canadian resources to new overseas markets, opponents argue that it has not received 'social license' and that it would push carbon emissions beyond Canada's targets.
Prime Minister Trudeau said all of these factors were weighed into the decisions, which also included approval of Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline, rejection of the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway project, and affirmation of his commitment to ban crude oil tankers along B.C.'s north coast.
Many Liberal MPs defended the decision fiercely to reporters outside the House of Commons on Tuesday, despite clear and immediate outrage from First Nations groups, environmentalists, activists, and concerned citizens across the country.
"I live in a riding that is adjacent (to the project), is on the waterway," said North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson. "A lot of folks within the riding have expressed concerns with respect to the management of transportation in the harbour, with respect to the ability to clean up spills, with respect to the impacts potentially on ecosystems and on how does this fit in Canada's commitments to the Paris agreement on climate change.
"And I would tell you that the government has responded to those concerns in – in substantive ways: through the Oceans Protection Plan, and through the pan-Canadian framework that we're developing on climate change. So I think that the government's response to this is fulsome, and it's an example of how we actually are focused on growing the economy in an environmentally sustainable way."
"This is decision is going to be – is very, very difficult for many in my community," added Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, MP for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country. "They are among some of the finest leaders and spokespeople for the environment, as have I tried to be working through this process.
"The four major decisions that were made yesterday reflect balance. You heard in the Prime Minister’s statement how hard British Columbia MPs worked to take very seriously the concerns that were raised by our constituents, particularly with regard to marine safety and the health of oceans as well as how our government is going to lead the transition to a low carbon economy. I think you see that reflected very strongly in the government’s approach."
Burnaby North—Seymour MP Terry Beech, however, reserved judgment:
"As I’m sure you’re aware, I’ve spent a lot of time on this issue," he said. "I’m going to be heading back to my riding on Saturday. We’re going to have an open house, so I can talk to my constituents. And right now, that’s my priority ...making sure that I understand their concerns, that they understand the implications of this decision, and we’ll go from there."
The pipeline approval comes on the heels of a new National Oceans Protection Plan that strives to create a "world-leading" marine safety system through responsible shipping, restoration of marine ecosystems, strengthened partnerships with Indigenous communities, and decision-making based on oil spill cleanup research and best practices.
Trans Mountain expects to break ground on the pipeline expansion in September 2017.