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

Power outages affected thousands of BC Hydro customers in the north on Jan. 14 (File photo) (File photo)
Power outages affect thousands of BC Hydro customers in northern B.C.

Transmission failure led to outages in Prince Rupert and Port Edward

A Prince Rupert port expansion project received a $25 million investment from the provincial government, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced on Jan. 14. Seen here is Ridley Terminals Inc., a coal export terminal in Prince Rupert (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)
$25 million government investment in Prince Rupert port expansion project

Prince Rupert port expansion project expected to create more than 2,200 jobs

For the second time in less than a year, Air Canada announced on Jan. 13 it has suspended flights on the Prince Rupert-Vancouver route as of Jan 17. (Photo by: Jerold Leblanc)
Cessation of flights to YPR will affect the municipal economy and global trade, P.R. Mayor said

Chamber of Commerce said it will aggressively pursue the resumption of flights to Prince Rupert

Air Canada has suspended flights to Prince Rupert Regional Airport due to COVID-19 mitigation, the airline announced on Jan. 13. (Photo:THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
YPR is not immune to plummeted air travel demands – 25 jobs lost

Prince Rupert Regional Airport flight cancellation will levee significant hardship - Rick Leach

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read