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January 12, 2017

Pipeline politics: BC’s 5 conditions

What do you do when companies want to build or expand heavy oil pipelines through the province that we love, and ship that product by tanker off our coast?

Almost five years ago, as the Trans Mountain and Northern Gateway pipeline proposals were taking shape, Premier Christy Clark and our BC Liberal government set out five conditions that those companies would have to meet in order to get the Province’s support – and we’ve stuck to them ever since.

The decision to approve a pipeline was always going to be made in Ottawa by the federal government. So the five conditions are all about doing business the BC way – setting a high bar to make sure that development respects the environment, addresses concerns and provides opportunities for First Nations communities, and provides real economic benefits to our province.

With the Trudeau government’s approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion, BC’s 5 conditions secured the following:

  • Strong new protections for our coastal environment, lands and waters – including major investments in spill prevention and response capacity, and a guarantee of unlimited funds available for cleanup and compensation.
  • Agreement that British Columbians will be first in line for jobs – with more than 75,000 person-years of employment created by the project.
  • A $19.1 billion boost to economic activity in BC over 20 years.
  • Over $2.2 billion in tax revenue for provincial and local governments.
  • An unprecedented agreement with Kinder Morgan for up to $1 billion over 20 years for a new BC Clean Communities Program.
  • New jobs and training opportunities for First Nations.

Where do the NDP stand on all this? Good question – their leader, John Horgan, has taken at least 6 different positions on this pipeline, trying to be all things to all people:

  • Feb. 14, 2013 “I think it’s appropriate that Kinder Morgan be allowed.”
  • April 22, 2013: “I’m very pleased we’re saying no to Kinder Morgan.”
  • April 2, 2014: “Pipelines are a very important part of our future, no question.”
  • July 30, 2015: Kinder Morgan “cannot be allowed to go forward.”
  • Sept. 7, 2016: “I could be persuaded.”
  • Sept. 8, 2016: “Kinder Morgan cannot go forward.”

So there you have it – clear, consistent, principled leadership that works hard for BC’s interests from Premier Christy Clark, and the same old waffling from the NDP.

By Jillian Stead