IN THE HOUSE – B.C.’s NDP, Greens need to listen to support for pipeline

(Kinder Morgan photo)

Excerpt from comments by Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod in the House on Thursday, June 1, 2017:

I AM GOING to talk of the broad picture, in terms of the current state of oil in Canada, and the movement of oil.

As we know, on the east coast, we are importing oil from many different countries, which include Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and others. The interesting thing is that the volume of oil being imported on the eastern coast is probably about 4,000 ships per year. On the west coast, we have 1,487 ships that are part of the movement of oil products. There is a big difference.

We are importing a whole lot of oil on the east coast, and there is a lot less volume on the west coast. What is interesting about that fact is that, on the east coast, people do not seem to be very concerned about the oil tanker movement. We do not hear people saying stop the oil tankers from Saudi Arabia, but we hear great resistance to the pipeline that is proposed. In  the west, we have relatively good support for the actual pipeline, but we have concerns about the very small volume compared to the east coast and to many other countries.

Of course, oil is more than just gas to heat our homes. There are many products that are important. There is jet fuel, gasoline, and diesel, but it goes into iPods, many plastics, some pesticides, food preservatives, and other things. Oil is not just about gasoline for our car or home heating, it is about many products that we use in day-to-day life.

Andrew Weaver’s comment about Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was absurd…. It was a very insulting comment

This is why I thought it was an absurd comment that was made by the coalition Green leader in British Columbia. In Canada, we want to have good relationships among our provinces. We are one country and we are celebrating 150 years, and this was a very difficult comment to hear from the new coalition Green leader in British Columbia. He said, “For Mrs. Notley to tell B.C. that somehow…[choosing] the 20th century [is the way] for our future is not a good sign for her” and the Alberta economy. “Frankly, I think she should get with the program and embrace the 21st century as well.”

There might come a day when we will not need these products anymore, and I recognize that we are moving toward better jobs with renewables. However, does Mr. Weaver ever get in his car? He lives in Victoria, but he probably still has to heat his house in the winter, and I expect that he probably has an iPad in his home. It was a very insulting comment. It is very wrong. Like it or not, oil is still a part of our needs. To be frank, I would rather have Canadian products being used than importing them from all over the world as we do currently. That is something we need to think about.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline is 980 kilometres long. Approximately 350 kilometres, about a third of it, goes through the riding of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, which I represent. I find it interesting to hear from the NDP member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley that the mayors are against this project, that the ones who are most affected do not want it to happen.

The mayor of Vancouver and the mayor of Burnaby are not the ones who are most impacted by this decision. It is the mayors in the riding that I represent. It is the regional district, and the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District has given support to this project. Therefore, for the member to say they are the ones most impacted, when the vast majority of the pipeline is going to be through other communities, is wrong.

Not only does it have the support of the many mayors and regional district directors throughout the interior of British Columbia and Alberta, but the first nations communities have signed off on it also. There are 51 first nation communities that have signed community benefit agreements. Again, in my community, the first nations see there is tremendous opportunity and have signed off on the agreement.

It is interesting that the only thing we hear portrayed in terms of first nations is the lack of support from a few bands. I think they are the Tsleil-aututh and Squamish first nations. However, we never hear about Simpcw or Tk’emlups or many in Whispering Pines, who have said that this is a good project and they support it. They see opportunities and would like to see it go through.

I moved to Kamloops in 1999. That pipeline has been in operation since 1953. There was an awareness that there was a tanker farm and perhaps a pipeline, but, to be frank, no one really paid much attention. We knew that there was a pipeline. There was no discomfort with the fact that there was a pipeline going through our community. We knew it had an important terminus, which probably kept the price of our gasoline at a reasonable level and supplied much of the interior of British Columbia.

The other thing we know is that trains go right along our fish-bearing rivers, our salmon-bearing rivers. We know that although train transportation is safe, it is not as safe as pipelines. The other key issue is that there is only so much capacity on our rail system, and they are taking up capacity with the transportation of oil. By sending all these barrels via train, we are taking away the opportunity to transport our grain and wood. We are going to be detrimentally impacting the whole supply chain within Canada. Therefore, the pipeline is incredibly important in terms of the supply chain. We have great support for Kinder Morgan, the 980 kilometres through Alberta and through the communities I represent.

Of course, in Burnaby and Vancouver, they are a little more reluctant about it. I hope the people of Vancouver and Burnaby will look at this as being many things. It is for the good of the country. Calgary, Alberta, is having tremendous problems. In the interior of British Columbia, the vast majority of people would prefer to see oil go through by pipeline rather than train, and they see that there are opportunities.

We are one country, and today we are having this debate. The federal government, through the National Energy Board, has approved the project. We have an uncertain situation in British Columbia as to whether the coalition government will be taking over. The parties have clearly stated they are reluctant to support this particular pipeline and will do everything they can to stop it. They need to listen, and I hope that the Parliament of Canada will send them a very strong message that this is important. This is the Parliament of Canada, and not only is it the executive branch, the legislative branch, but many communities and many first nations.

In conclusion, there will never be everyone who is happy about projects such as this. However, in this case, it is clearly in the best interests of Canada and many communities within Canada.


About Mel Rothenburger (7200 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

5 Comments on IN THE HOUSE – B.C.’s NDP, Greens need to listen to support for pipeline

  1. Maybe if she had a grasp of… I dunno…. ‘science’ for a start, I’d take her comments a little more seriously. But she doesn’t and all this speech did was waste more time in Parliament and put the other members to sleep.

    She’s a perfect example of what’s wrong with politics in general… too many people with too little useful skills and too much ambition trying to run things. Talk about the Peter Principle in action.

    • ajaxtoobigtooclose // June 2, 2017 at 10:59 AM // Reply

      So true Brock.
      I am thankful she has no influence over the proposed mine disaster next to Kamloops.

  2. Dale Shoemaker // June 2, 2017 at 8:27 AM // Reply

    Well put Cathy

  3. Grouchy 1 // June 2, 2017 at 7:50 AM // Reply

    Here we go again. McLeod blathering away about ( nothing really ) provincial politics. Keep your nose out of it , you don’t even do federal politics well. And, if you really want to help our oil exports, build a refinery in the oil sands, and export value added products instead of our raw materials at bargain basement prices.

    • – I concur about the refinery, I’ve been wondering about that one for years: What part of the supply chain would the building of a refinery have, except to increase the enrichment of the raw product (?) -because I don’t personally think that one could say that refining the oil in Canada is about air quality, et al, so it would be a win-win for Canada and the provinces as gross income for the country’s books.

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