Skeena — Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is accusing the Conservative government of using B.C. as a pawn in an international game of chess when it comes to finally rendering a decision on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
“They sent the Natural Resource Minister to New York where he suggested delaying the decision and right away the Prime Minister stood in the House of Commons to say a decision was imminent. They’re using British Columbia as some chess piece in a game with the U.S., saying if they don’t approve the Keystone pipeline they will just run the Enbridge pipeline through. As though a pipeline through B.C. is a foregone conclussion,” said Cullen, noting any delay would leave Stephen Harper with egg on his face.
“A delay doesn’t make a bad decision a good one and it opens up the Prime Minister to the same criticism he has lobbed at President Obama in delaying a decision on Keystone.”
Noting that he feels the government may try to end the Parliamentary session before handing down a decision in order to minimize press and MP attention, Cullen left no doubt the decision has significant impacts both for the people of the Northwest and those in Ottawa.
“My concern is this will impact other industrial development people may want to see because it will have completely soured the relationship with First Nations,” said Cullen.
“The Conservatives are in real trouble in British Columbia with some Conservative members discussing changing their votes based on this one issue because they also fish and hunt … they’ve painted themselves into a corner by being such strong backers of such a controversial project.”
And while there are now three oil refinery projects proposed between Kitimat and Prince Rupert, Cullen said any alternative to diluted bitumen shipments is still a long ways away.
“In talking with the different proponents, they are just starting the conversation. I think the conversation of value added refining … is a good one, but there is a long way to go and the companies acknowledge that. They don’t have any buyers for the product yet,” he said, noting most face opposition from the oil industry itself.
“A lot of the industry, which is multinational companies, seem to oppose the idea of refining oil in Canada, which is shameful because they are only marginally based in the country.”