ELECTION 2017: Oil pipeline politics
Bad Video Embed Code

ELECTION 2017: Oil pipeline politics

Former NDP leader Adrian Dix’s opposition to the project was a turning point in the 2013 election

Tenth in a series of Black Press B.C. election coverage leading up to May 9

BCElection2017_logoBThe issue that largely defined the 2013 B.C. election has been mostly quiet in the current campaign, as work begins to construct the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta across B.C.

The biggest controversy this time came when the United Steelworkers celebrated the award of a contract to EVRAZ North America’s Regina manufacturing plant to cut 250,000 tonnes of steel pipe for the line.

“The men and women of the United Steelworkers 5890 in Regina will be proud to produce the vast majority of pipe for the Trans Mountain expansion in Canada, for Canada,” said Steve Hunt, USW director for Western Canada.

WATCH: Chilliwack First Nations bands reject Kinder Morgan cash

B.C. Liberals pointed out the contradiction of the Steelworkers’ major financial support for the B.C. NDP and the B.C. party’s opposition to the project that offers employment for up to 15,000 people during construction.

Former NDP leader Adrian Dix’s mid-campaign decision to oppose the project marked a turning point in the 2013 election, and shook the NDP’s traditional relationship with industrial unions.

Neither B.C. Liberal leader Christy Clark nor B.C. NDP leader John Horgan brings up the project, which received provincial and federal approval last year. If asked, they stick to their platform commitments.

Designed and approved 70 years ago, the Trans Mountain pipeline has delivered crude oil and refined fuels from northern Alberta to its Burnaby shipping terminal to crude refineries in Burnaby and Washington, since 1953.

WATCH: Battle against Kinder Morgan far from over, say First Nations

It has intermittently carried diluted bitumen from Alberta oil sands producers since the product became available in the late 1980s, with much of the shipped product going to heavy oil refineries in California.

An expansion project was completed without incident or controversy in 2008, including a portion that runs through Jasper National Park in Alberta and Mount Robson Provincial Park in B.C., with 13 pumping stations and increased capacity.

Platform highlights:

  • The NDP platform vows to “use every tool in our toolbox to stop the project from going ahead.” That could man rescinding the environmental assessment certificate already granted by the B.C. Liberal cabinet, or refusing to issue site-specific permits that may be required to cross rivers and other features of the route.

    Horgan emphasizes the seven-fold increase in crude oil tanker traffic from Kinder Morgan Canada’s Westridge terminal in Burnaby. Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley notes that risk of oil and fuel spills applies to all shipping on the West Coast, and the Trans Mountain expansion means only a six per cent increase in total ship movements.

  • The B.C. Liberal platform emphasizes federal commitments to improve West Coast spill prevention and response, including heavy rescue tugboats, and the benefits of a revenue share offered by Kinder Morgan and its oil suppliers that Clark says will eventually add up to $1 billion for community environmental enhancement.

    The ruling party also promises to “support the development of refineries and pipelines that meet our environmental assessment requirements and provide benefits and jobs for British Columbians.”

  • The B.C. Green Party platform makes no mention of the Trans Mountain project and only once mentions pipelines, a commitment to “introduce maintenance requirements for pipelines and enhance compliance and enforcement.”

    Green leader Andrew Weaver has focused his attacks on natural gas export development, which he calls a “pipe dream” that will never be financially viable.

BC Election 2017BC Votes 2017Kinder Morgan

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

The Cancer Care Unit at Prince Rupert Regional Hospital, April 14, will benefit from a $100,000 donation from Prince Rupert Port Authority towards renovations. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Port Authority donates $100,000 to hospital renovations

Cancer Care Unit at PRRH to undergo upgradesat PRRH to undergo upgrades

Teresa Van sorts bottles at the April 10 Rainmakers Interact Club bottle drive to earn funds for six Seabin garbage collection units for harbours and waterfronts in the local region. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Bottle drive successful with more collected than can be sorted in one day

Rainmakers Interact Club supports local community with funds toward ocean garbage collection units

Flights are to resume to Prince Rupert and Sandspit airports under an Air Canada and federal government $5.9 billion agreement that was reached on April 12. A plane is seen through the window on the tarmac of Vancouver International Airport as the waiting room is empty Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
$5.879 billion agreement between Air Canada and Fed’s will assist YPR in re-opening

Prince Rupert Regional Airport to reopen flights by June 1st, if not earlier

BC Housing townhouses on Kootenay Ave. were demolished during March to make way for new affordable residential units by Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Despite a recent reduction in units project will still be able to house many

Prince Rupert Indigenous Housing Society says 60 units is still the plan

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Latest modelling by public health shows cases generated by COVID-19 infections into places where it can spread quickly. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
Industrial sites, pubs, restaurants driving COVID-19 spread in B.C.

Infection risk higher in offices, retail, warehouses, farms

Vancouver Canucks forward J.T. Miller said it would be “very challenging and not very safe” for him and his teammates to play as scheduled on Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canucks’ return to ice postponed again after players voice COVID health concerns

Friday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers was called off after the team met virtually with the NHLPA

B.C. Attorney General David Eby, Minister Responsible for Housing. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. announces $2B for affordable, middle-income family home projects

HousingHub financing to encourage more developers, groups – with low-interest loans – to build affordable homes

Most Read