Justin Trudeau’s position on Enbridge pipeline echoes Christy Clark’s

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Justin Trudeau’s take on Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline reminds filmmaker Jon Cooksey of Premier Christy Clark.

For the creator of the ecodocumentary How to Boil a Frog, Trudeau’s statement at a media scrum in Richmond on October 3 that the energy company needs a better plan for its Alberta–to–B.C. pipeline is telling.

“I believe the quote was ‘pipeline, sure, but not there’,” Cooksey told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview. “The verbiage seems to be, they have to justify it. So is Christy Clark too, basically: what it is at this point, it’s ‘pipeline is okay as long as the economics are right or the environmental protections are right,’ whatever that means.”

Cooksey is a member of the B.C. Green Liberal Caucus, a group that advocates strategic voting to save the world from climate change.

Last July, when Trudeau had yet to announce his bid to become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, the filmmaker was enthused about the Quebec MP, saying “at least he’s got some passion”. That was in response to Trudeau calling Conservative environment minister Peter Kent a “piece of shit” as the government’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol was being discussed during question period in Parliament.

But now, with Trudeau’s stand on the Enbridge pipeline, Cooksey is disappointed. “He’s sort of taking the middle course,” he said. “And it’s easy to take a middle course. But I don’t know what the middle course is on catastrophic global warming.”

In last spring’s federal NDP leadership contest, the Green Liberals backed Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen, a critic of oil pipelines and tanker traffic.

The group takes some credit for stopping Kevin Falcon, the former B.C. transportation minister behind the massive Gateway highway-expansion project, from becoming B.C. Liberal leader in 2011. Green Liberals supported Clark, although Cooksey isn’t happy about the premier’s position regarding the Enbridge pipeline.

The Clark government has set five requirements for the construction of heavy-oil pipelines, including a “fair share of the fiscal and economic benefits”.

Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray is promising to present a “strong environmental platform” if she decides to run for federal Liberal party leader.

“It will be based on a sustainable Canada for our kids,” Murray told the Straight in a phone interview. She also recounted how she filed a private member’s bill to ban oil-tanker traffic in the waters off B.C.’s central and north coasts, which in effect would have killed projects like the Enbridge pipeline.

Cooksey warned that the Enbridge plan could become a “decoy” for an oil-pipeline-expansion project that would increase threefold the oil tanker and barge traffic in Burrard Inlet. Texas-based company Kinder Morgan intends to twin its Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, and increase its capacity to 750,000 barrels of oil per day.

“What happens is that Kinder Morgan becomes the default,” Cooksey said. “Because then, by Justin Trudeau’s logic, Kinder Morgan is perfect. It’s already got an existing right of way. His concerns have been addressed, except for the possibility of an oil spill and catastrophic global warming.”

Comments (4) Add New Comment
Louis Cyphre
Look, this represents big bucks for the PEOPLE of BC. Require personal responsibility of Board members of these companies on environmental disasters by law and GO. Exploit oil while it still has value! (And it's not as if the world won't burn it anyway.) Lower personal taxes please and increase services please!
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mozy
ya
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Michael Barkusky
Export pipelines for tar sands oil only make sense under the voodoo economics of conventional national income accounting (the GDP system). Under any proper ecological-economic accounting system, they are big losers. We know the pipelines make money for ENB and KM shareholders, but they don't make economic sense for the rest of us. Justin Trudeau may have charisma and passion, but I don't see him having much more interest in economic questions than his late father did. He also doesn't seem to have any more talent for the subject than Christy Clark !
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Rex Weyler
Cooksey is correct here: J. Trudeau, apparently a nice guy with good intentions, has taken an indefensibly ambiguous and evasive position on one of the most important issues facing humanity -- runaway global warming -- and on one of the greatest risks to our coastal economies and marine ecosystems: A tragic oil spill from either the existing Kinder Morgan crude oil tankers, or additional oil tankers from the KM or Enbridge plans. Vancouver does not want to be the tar sands shipping port.
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