The BC New Democrat wants the pipeline expansion canceled. Jagmeet Singh says not so fast
OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is not pushing to cancel the government-owned Trans Mountain expansion, even as a veteran caucus MP calls for an immediate end to construction on the controversial pipeline project.
Peter Julian, NDP House leader and longtime MP whose riding in British Columbia is close to where the pipeline ends on Burrard Inlet, notified the House of Commons this week that he intends to table a motion calling on the government to “immediately stop” construction of the Trans Mountain expansion.
In an interview with The Star on Wednesday evening, Julian said the motion – which he tabled in previous parliamentary sessions – reflects his personal views and aims to express the position of many of his constituents who do not want to see the project. expansion is complete.
He stressed that he still supported the “national” position on the project expressed by Singh, who opposes the expansion of the pipeline on principle but does not call for a halt to construction.
“It’s the difference between being in caucus and tabling something as a private member,” Julian said. “A private member can express his point of view and express the point of view of his constituents, and that is what I have done here.”
The issue touches a sensitive position for Singh’s NDP, which seeks to defend workers in all sectors of the economy while pushing for stronger action on climate change.
When the Liberal government nationalized the project for $ 4.4 billion in 2018, to move the proposed expansion project forward, Singh repeatedly accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of failing to live up to his promised climate action. . But the pipeline also sparked a feud between the NDP governments of British Columbia and Alberta, and Singh’s opposition to the expansion soured relations with Rachel Notley when she was the New Democrat premier. -Democrat of Alberta.
Ahead of the 2019 election, for example, Notley told The Star that federal New Democrats “need to get back to the drawing board and think about workers.”
In this year’s federal election, Singh clarified his position on the expansion project, which is already under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. He said he opposed the project and public funds devoted to it, but that it would not. not necessarily cancel it. Instead, he said he would analyze the project if he won power before deciding to abandon it.
Asked about Julian’s motion on Wednesday, Singh said his position had not changed: he was not asking for the project to be canceled.
“I have always been opposed to the project, and I once told the government that we would assess and make the decision on what to do with the asset,” he said.
Julian’s motion goes further. Citing reports from Canada Energy Regulator and other agencies, he questioned whether additional expansion capacity is needed to meet Alberta’s future oil demand. It also indicates that the project “undermines” Canada’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and that the billions of dollars spent on the project, estimated at at least $ 12.7 billion, should instead be used to finance a “Green New Deal for Canada” – a reference to a broad agenda to transition to a cleaner economy while supporting workers and creating well-paying jobs.
Environmentalists have long opposed the proposed pipeline, which would nearly triple the amount of crude the Trans Mountain System can transport from Alberta to the British Columbia coast. Several First Nations communities along the route oppose its construction, while climate activists argue it would lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions at a crucial time when leading scientists say reductions The rapid pollution that causes climate change are needed to limit the damage of a warming world.
Still, the pipeline remains a key fuel source for the populated Vancouver region of British Columbia, a fact underscored by how recent devastating flooding in the province has forced the line to close. On Monday, the Parkland Oil Refinery in Burnaby, British Columbia, announced it would shut down due to a lack of supply. The hiatus comes amid concerns over gasoline shortages as the B.C. government calls on motorists to limit themselves to 30 liters of fuel per visit to gas stations across the province.
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