This Article is part of the Tar Sands Reporting Project special report See the full report

Trudeau promises no Northern Gateway if he beats Harper in 2015

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau reiterated during a visit to Vancouver's Douglas Park that if he can win the 2015 election, he will work to nix the Northern Gateway pipeline. That said, he's not against to all oil pipelines being proposed for BC.

Photo by Jenny Uechi
"Thousands of British Columbians depend on the Pacific Ocean for their livelihood," Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau told hundreds of supporters gathered for a Liberal Party barbecue at Douglas Park in Vancouver.

"Those Canadians have not been assured that a catastrophic spill would be prevented...That's why, if I'm given the honour of becoming Prime Minister in 2015, I will work to make sure Northern Gateway does not happen."
 
Trudeau's statement on the pipeline was followed by screams and cheers from the audience. 
Liberal MPs Hedy Fry (left), Joyce Murray (right)
He added, though, that he also feels the Alberta oil sands crude needs to nonetheless make it to other markets. Canada currently exports most of its oil in the U.S., and has struggled to reach lucrative markets in Asia.
 
"One of the most important responsibilities of any Prime Minister is to make sure our resources get to market. But we know it needs to be done in a responsible and sustainable way and the great failing of this Prime Minister," he said, taking aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper, "is that he has been unable to demonstrate that he takes as seriously the responsibility to the environment as he does to his friends in the oil patch."

Trudeau, like NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, has been strongly opposed to the building of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, which would bring 525,000 barrels of bitumen from Edmonton to a terminal in Kitimat. He has been less clear on his stance on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, which he has said he would "certainly hope" to get approved. 
 
People at the event said they came out to see Trudeau speak because they were disenchanted by the current government's policies.
 
"The way the Conservatives have approached a lot of the issues concerning minorities in Canada, it's a non-starter to begin with," said Rajinder Sharma. 

Left, in blue, Rajinder Sharma. Second from right, in striped shirt, Navdeep Bahl. 

He and others said they were deeply concerned about the new citizenship bill, Bill C-24, which makes citizenship harder to obtain and gives the citizenship minister unprecedented powers to strip a person's citizenship.

"With the Conservatives, we're not feeling integrated --It feels like they're making policies without us," agreed Navdeep Bahl. "But Trudeau, meanwhile, is an impressive politician. If he makes a mistake, he admits it." 
 
Others criticized Harper's foreign policy and cuts toward scientific research.
 
"I'm not happy with the Conservatives, their economic program and their foreign policies," said Norm Robinson.

"I don't agree with their support of Israel, which is a bit extreme. Other parties are more measured. I think the Conservatives have missed a lot of economic opportunities by stifling scientific research. There's also a good amount of research that shows that good environmental policies lead to good economic policies." 
 
A small group of protesters showed up to the event with signs and banners, denouncing violence against Palestinians and urging Trudeau to take a clearer stand on the issue. 

"He's speaking very much the same as the Conservatives, or at least he hasn't come out strongly against the violence," said Ann Grant, one of the protesters, who said the crisis did not have to do with cultural background, but was a "human issue" on which opposition MPs should not remain neutral. 

Read More:

More in News

Views from a refugee camp: Who gets into heaven?

I have just returned to Vancouver Island from Greek refugee camps where I met a Yazidi man named Jason who told me about his escape from ISIS in Iraq.   His story begins on a desert road where a...

Vancouver's bicycle sharing grows as 15 new stations installed

Mobi bicycle by Shaw Go in Vancouver. Photo by Christopher Porter from Flickr Creative Commons

International Women's Day Concert celebrates female musicians who turned tragedy into triumph

Every March 8, on International Women's Day, we hear about the achievements of brilliant, talented women around the world. But how often do we learn about the physical and mental disabilities or...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.

Special reports

Athabasca tar sands, photographed by Andrew S. Wright

Tar Sands Reporting Project

Our award-winning team's crowd-funded series on the people, places and conflicts associated with Canada's tar sands.
Support this report