Kennedy Stewart: Trudeau needs to stop Kinder Morgan

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      It’s official! The National Energy Board has finally rubber-stamped Kinder Morgan’s plan to force a new pipeline through our communities and bring tankers filled with thousands of barrels of bitumen to Vancouver Harbour every day.

      But don’t despair. It’s not too late to stop Kinder Morgan. All we need to do is convince Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet to reject the pipeline when they decide this December whether or not to sign off on the NEB report.

      We shouldn’t be too surprised the NEB gave Kinder Morgan the green light. After all, the board's review process was gutted by Stephen Harper and overseen by Conservative appointees so the outcome was pretty clear from the outset. Sadly, while Trudeau's Liberals promised during the election to send the company back to the drawing board and make Kinder Morgan apply under a “new, fair process”, they failed to do so—breaking their promise to British Columbians.

      Where past pipeline reviews often took a few years to properly accommodate community input, the Kinder Morgan review was squished into 18 months to expedite approval. To meet these time constraints, the NEB excluded many homeowners and concerned local residents from participating. It wouldn’t allow intervenors to cross-examine the company on its evidence. Residents from my riding who went to the hearings with the hoping of protecting their homes and neighbourhoods told me they felt the whole process was rigged to favour giant oil companies rather than ordinary British Columbians. It would be wrong for Trudeau to approve this pipeline when the review was conducted using Harper's process and Harper's appointees.

      Our province could be thrown into chaos if Trudeau green-lights Kinder Morgan. When the company decided mid-review that it wanted to tunnel through Burnaby Mountain and drill for samples, it prompted thousands of Burnaby residents and other British Columbians to stand up for our community. Over one hundred were arrested—falsely, it turns out, as Kinder Morgan’s expert advisers gave the RCMP the wrong exclusion-zone coordinates. I shudder to think the effect if the prime minister allows the company to force its way through Indigenous communities who have come out opposed to the project. This is not the way to build a genuine, nation-to-nation relationship.

      If Trudeau decides to champion Kinder Morgan he will do so against the wishes of many our political leaders. Premier Christy Clark, Opposition Leader John Horgan, First Nations leaders such as Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, as well as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, labour unions, and environmental organizations have expressed opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

      It is a rare day indeed when the B.C. Liberals, B.C. NDP and Green party all agree on an issue. But that’s what has happened. The preposterous idea of moving forward with Kinder Morgan has united British Columbians from across the political spectrum.

      Who seems off base on this issue is the prime minister. Early on the process, Trudeau stated, "I am, however, very interested in the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the Trans Mountain pipeline that is making its way through. I certainly hope that we’re going to be able to get that pipeline approved." The Trudeau Liberals may think rhetoric about social licence will legitimize their final decision, but British Columbians have spoken: Kinder Morgan does not have social licence.

      Trudeau's inclination to support Kinder Morgan  means we’ve got our work cut out for us over the next few months.

      We have to make sure Trudeau knows our province does not want this pipeline. We don’t want it because the review process was flawed and because the project is a bad deal for British Columbia.

      For one of the first times in history, our provincial leadership is united against this project. Now we have to make prime minister gets the message loud and clear: Stop Kinder Morgan!

      To add your name to the campaign against Kinder Morgan, please visit www.nopublicnopipeline.ca/.

      Kennedy Stewart is the NDP MP for Burnaby South.

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