Justice Minister: Ottawa can’t force Kinder Morgan on B.C.

Jody Wilson-Raybould, in her own words

In the lead-up to the 2015 federal election, Dogwood collected survey responses from candidates in every B.C. riding. We asked for their positions on key B.C. issues, so constituents could hold them to their word if elected.

Here’s what Jody Wilson-Raybould wrote in response to this question: “Who do you believe should make the final decision on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion?”

The question, “Who should make the final decision on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion?” really speaks to our evolving system of multi-level governance in Canada and the need for greater citizen engagement in decision-making. In some ways Kinder Morgan is more complicated than Northern Gateway as it is a proposed expansion of an existing pipeline. I wonder if the Trans Mountain pipeline would ever have been approved in the first place if it was being proposed today?

To answer the question though, it can be argued the federal government is responsible for pipelines and could try and use its constitutional muscle to push it through in the “national interest.” This, I believe, is the misguided position of the Conservatives. In reality, as with Northern Gateway, this is not going to happen, as there is no longer one government or person that can legally or socially make the final decision on this, or any other pipeline.

There is no longer one government or person that can legally or socially make the final decision on this, or any other pipeline.

In the case of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline it will have a significant impact on our quality of life and local economy. Like all of you reading this, I am concerned, as should be every resident of the Lower Mainland, that this proposal may be approved without proper consideration of the impacts on our land, our waters, and First Nations. Clearly, the recent protests on Burnaby Mountain underscore the difficulty the proponent will have in obtaining a social licence for this proposal. And the recent oil spill in English Bay reminded us of what can happen without solid environmental protections (please see my blog).

Justin and the Liberal party have made it very clear that all energy infrastructure projects must earn the trust of communities if they are to proceed, and that any and all projects must not place our lands, waterways, and ecosystems at risk.

Further, we believe in the need to respect Aboriginal title and rights, including treaty rights. In BC this is of particular importance where serious weight must be given to the issue of un-extinguished Aboriginal title and the requirement for “consent” if projects cross unceded Aboriginal title lands. This situation applies in both the case of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain and Northern Gateway.

Serious weight must be given to the issue of un-extinguished Aboriginal title and the requirement for “consent” if projects cross unceded Aboriginal title lands.

The Liberal party understands that in order to properly assess the impact of proposed projects Canada needs open, clear and efficient processes that have reasonable, even-handed rules, clear beginning and ending points, so ultimately decisions can be relied on. We need to restore public trust around processes for approval for resource and industrial development projects.

Unfortunately, and due to Mr. Harper’s actions, we no longer have this in Canada. The Conservatives have eviscerated the environmental assessment process previous Liberal governments had brought into law. A Liberal government will launch an immediate, public review of Canada’s current environmental assessment processes, and based on this review, will replace Mr. Harper’s changes to the environmental assessment process, with a new, comprehensive, timely, and fair process.

For me this is incredibly important and necessary as we start to assess the impact of our actions and seriously address climate change.

As a first-time voter in Vancouver Granville, I was heartened to see what my Member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould had to say when she was campaigning last year. Now Canada’s Minister of Justice, Wilson-Raybould will be responsible for defending the Crown’s decision against First Nations’ legal challenges if Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and tanker project is approved.

4 Responses to “Justice Minister: Ottawa can’t force Kinder Morgan on B.C.”

  1. Rick Botting says:

    We know who NOT to vote for next time!

  2. Neil Kitson says:

    I’m confused. The National Energy Board is a government tribunal whose decisions can be appealed to the Federal Court is it not? If yes, then there would seem to have been such abuse of process during the hearings that the effort should be going into the legal proceedings should it not?

  3. Marion Macdonald says:

    Liar, liar, pants on fire!

  4. william chase says:

    Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was elected under false pretenses. Remember how last summer she was so against the horrors of Site C, yet this year was conspicuously silent as the Federal Government issued the latest round of Permits allowing BC Hydro to proceed with building the Dam, instead of seizing the opportunity to have everyone take a Time Out and reassess what is really happening?

    Do not expect her to fight [or even lean] against Kinder-Morgan.

    The only positive result of last year’s election was that we did get rid of Harper.

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