No reason for Enbridge, government to proceed: Cullen

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is baffled at the government possibly extending the conversation of the Enbridge project

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen is baffled at the federal government possibly extending the conversation of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline after not appealing the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to reverse the approval of the project.

After Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said the Liberals would state their intentions on the pipeline at a later date, the Skeena MP reiterated that the project has been given the boot by many stakeholders.

“I’m not sure which part of ‘No’ they haven’t understood from the last 12 years – from First Nations, from municipalities, from the people in Kitimat on down the line. This project should be dead,” he said.

In late September, John Carruthers, president of Northern Gateway said that Northern Gateway, the proponents and Aboriginal Equity Partners behind the project remain “fully committed” to building it.

“We believe that projects like ours should be built with First Nation and Métis environmental stewardship, ownership, support and shared control … We look forward to working with the government and Aboriginal communities in the renewed consultation process,” said Carruthers.

“The consultation was terrible. The whole national energy board process is pathetic and has lost the trust of Canadians and that’s now happening across the country … I don’t know if sending a few more people on a road trip to ask what people in the NorthWest think about this pipeline is meant to change anything, because we’ve had hundreds of thousands of hours of consultation,” said Cullen. The MP also said that the House of Commons is also currently waiting for the government’s action on the proposed North Coast tanker ban that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned on, which would make the conversation moot.

Cullen is looking forward to the current session of government and what the Liberal government will come up with, though its decision to approve the Pacific NorthWest LNG project drew the MP’s ire last week.

“We got it. The Liberals are very good at presenting image … What I want to see is actual progressive policies that he campaigned on, because that’s what I believe voters voted for,” he said.

Carbon savings

The MP questioned the approval of an LNG project, when the country is trying to scale back its carbon footprint.

“Anything that has a carbon impact has got to be in the carbon budget … If you’re going to approve LNG, my assumption is that B.C. continues to offset in other places. Now the province has screwed this all up by approving the $10 billion Site C mega-dam. Could all that money, or even half of that money been going toward green energy, it would have greatly reduced our footprint,” Cullen said.

“No one in the industry pretends that in any context that dam projects are anything close to cutting edge or green, because they’re a 1950s or 1940s technology.”

Electoral reform

The MP, who is on the government’s electoral reform committee as vice-chair, gave an update on his country-wide tour of gathering feedback of Canadians’ desire for changing their election system. Cullen said that there is a large appetite for a proportional system, as well as getting more women into parliament. Eighty-three per cent of respondents in a recent poll from the MP said that they’d like to see the same percentage of votes equal the percentage of seats for that party, while 40 per cent said a referendum would be an appropriate way to introduce a new voting system, and another 40 per cent saying they can implement the system and then ask Canadians after they’ve tried it out if they’ like to continue. Twenty per cent said if parties agree on a system, that’s good enough for them.

Additionally, 81 per cent voted in favour of a proportional voting system, while 19 per cent said they’d like to stick with first-past-the-post.

“It’s very interesting and people have come up with some novel ideas about other things that are afflicting our democracy, like the power the PM holds and trying to offset that a little bit, and a whole list of really good democratic reforms,” he said.