My thoughts on the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion

Tomorrow, June 18, 2019, as has been widely reported, the federal cabinet is set to make and announce a decision (again) on the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) – the twinning of the oil pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby. In advance of this decision and in the spirit of transparency and openness, I have decided to write down some thoughts on TMX – a project that has been and continues to be a hot topic of conversation in Vancouver and across the country, one with a diversity of views and positions. It should be of no surprise that many of you have asked my opinion on the pipeline. Media have asked me for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on whether I support the expansion. The answer for me is not that simple. There are many considerations – which I touch on below. No question, TMX will continue to garner debate and I welcome your feedback and thoughts on this important issue.

Here is what I expect to happen tomorrow. The government will say further court-ordered consultations with Indigenous peoples have taken place, and that the effects on the marine environment have been addressed. And having done this work, and imposed further conditions, the project is, once again, approved. The immediate response to this decision will be the filing of multiple lawsuits against the government’s decisions. And being truthful, if the past is any precedent – and in no way condoning or encouraging the breaking of the law – there will be a rapid mobilization of on the ground conflict that will foster cycles of tensions. As a result, Canadians will be further divided. While there will be photo-ops and talk of “getting shovels in the ground”, no one will be able to say with certainty when – or if – actual pipe will be laid and if any product will ever flow through it.

Apart from what may or may not happen if TMX is approved, for me, and others, it is still an open question whether there is a compelling economic case for the expansion project. At the end of the day the economic viability of the project is ultimately tied to the question of how long the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources will take place globally and until then, where countries will source their oil. Make no mistake there is, thankfully, a transition to renewables taking place; it is just a question of how long. At some point global demand for fossil fuels will, with regional variation, decline and at an accelerating rate. This timeline depends on many variables: government policies (domestic and international); affordability and availability of alternative sources of energy (based on developing technology and level of investment); ability of interest groups to delay or speed up the transition; and, ultimately, the will of us – the people. A relevant question for those concerned with climate change (and most of us are – regardless of political stripe) is how fast will the necessary and inevitable transition from fossil fuels take? The big question is, will it be fast enough to put the breaks on human-made climate change? Time – as always – is of the essence.

Accordingly, for someone investing in pipelines with a time-limited future, it comes down to a basic equation of supply and demand and whether the investment is sound. The investment analysts have their views, as do the companies and people with “skin” in the fossil fuel game, as do those who oppose on principle any expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. Who do you believe? Who do you want to believe? For me, I am not convinced of the economic case for TMX. I would also like more certainty about how long these pipelines will be operating during the transition. Yes, we need the existing pipeline today, but what capacity do we need in the future? There are no black and white answers.

There are other wildcards that could also happen – such as a further sale of the project, including a move to significant Indigenous ownership – but at this time these outcomes seem uncertain.  

In my opinion, and truth be told, we did not need to land in this spot.  

I recall the conversations I had with British Columbians and Canadians over four years ago when I first ran to be the Member of Parliament for Vancouver Granville. I heard – and continue to hear as I knock on doors in Vancouver Granville – from so many voices with the full range of views on pipelines, and other major resource development projects. I expressed then, as I believe now, that there are three prerequisites for such projects to proceed. These are: 1) a resetting of the legislative and policy foundations for transformed relations with Indigenous peoples, including support for Indigenous governance and decision-making; 2) robust investment in environmental protection; and, 3) a clear, predictable, and structured plan, with transformative investments, for rapid transition to a true green economy.

While I was in government I continued to carry forward the message about these three prerequisites. My views have not changed. What has changed is the environment (no pun intended) in which we are having this conversation. To date, in my view, the necessary prerequisites for building TMX have not fully been met.                                                   

Why are we in this spot? Unfortunately, we have arrived here because choices and actions that have been taken have resulted in a broad cross-section of Canadians of all backgrounds deciding they do not trust the federal government to own, operate, and regulate this project. And as an Indigenous person and leader I know how paralyzing mistrust can be to getting anything done. More than anything a lack of trust, and broken trust, breeds paralysis and maintains the status quo. 

What caused this mistrust with TMX? In my view, and just to name a few:

  • There is mistrust because of the lack of meeting standards the government committed to enshrine in legislation and policy regarding Indigenous rights;
  • There is mistrust that stems from a continued lack of confidence in the regulatory process;
  • There is mistrust because of how long it has taken the government to move this forward, while also not pursuing the exploration of alternative pipelines;
  • There is mistrust because it seems inconsistent with the imperative of addressing climate change, including how building a pipeline will actually help transition to a new green economy;
  • There is mistrust because leaders of all stripes, at many points of time, have seemed incapable of sitting down, collaborating, and sorting this issue out; and,
  • There is mistrust because of poor communication and insufficient information sharing on the part of government, matched with misinformation and hyperbole by those in opposition. Simply put, when making decisions about the relationship between major resource development, climate change, and Indigenous reconciliation becomes dominated by politics and political expediency, the end result is never good.

To re-iterate, I believe today what I believed four years ago. There are contexts where pipeline projects, are viable and important – and I certainly understand and appreciate the economic imperative for millions of Canadians. But the place we have landed at this moment in time is one in which a climate of failure and conflict has prevailed. The vision of how such projects fit into the future of Canada, including addressing climate change and Indigenous reconciliation, has been lost in a fog of confusion, mixed messaging, and a lack of leadership from multiple governments. We need to get beyond this. 

How do we do this? We often hear about the intersection of climate change, reconciliation, and jobs and economic growth. And this is true – they are all intimately related. But I think Canadians are tired of just hearing they intersect – we need to be talking about howthey intersect, and actually design our policies and decisions around these three matters in ways that make sense. While some progress has been made, more needs to be done. 

Let me give examples. When we hear from Indigenous peoples and the courts that processes and decisions were “too little – too late”, we need to be designing with Indigenous peoples far earlier what is proactive and appropriate, based on legislative and policy foundations that are helping Indigenous Nations re-build their governance and decision-making structures – to become full partners in Confederation. When we confront the urgent need of addressing climate change, we need to explain, illustrate and entertain how pipeline development is actually only one part of the substantial investment, job creation, and transition to a green economy that must take place in a fixed timeframe.  Pipelines have a limited lifespan. When we recognize that changing global and local conditions disproportionately impacts a particular region or people, we need to intervene early in partnership to implement plans for job growth in new sectors within those regions. We know there is clear evidence that with bold and big investment in environmental innovation and renewables we will create exponentially more sustainable green jobs.

And we need to do this through recognition that all of this work on these issues revolves around the same fundamental challenge – building the most resilient Canada for the 21stcentury. Resilience means many things – but more than anything it means toughness. And Canada needs to be increasingly tough to confront a world where forests burn, seas rise, opportunities close, tensions heighten, and uncertainty rules. And the resilience – toughness – that we need as a country never has its foundation in division. We all have to make sacrifices for the survival of our climate, our planet. Whether we want to or not – it is our duty to the next generation and the generations unborn. And most of us are ready – indeed driven. We just want leadership to make the right decisions with the least amount of pain and the most impact. We want informed decisions based on evidence and common sense, and to limit the roles of special interests and excessive partisanship.

Yet, while a majority of people will accept a pipeline with conditions, we risk increasing division around this project. Leadership demands looking beyond the next election cycle or meeting or moment in time, changing course where the course has failed, and being bold in new ways. In this case, we need leadership that can help stop the mistrust and division, and reset a proper economic course that accounts for the real connections to reconciliation and climate change.

It has been famously said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I expect that is what we will see this week, as the government chooses to try to proceed, again, in a context of ongoing conflict and mistrust. That decision will undoubtedly please many Canadians – though I imagine that will be tempered by continued skepticism that government will be able to follow through and actually build the project. Time has changed many things.

Given this unfortunate reality, a better approach, in my view, is to acknowledge the broken context, and not proceed with TMX at this time. This approach requires leadership, collaboration and commitment along with bold and concrete plans that actually reset the direction of our energy future in a way Canadians can trust and get behind – from coast-to-coast-to-coast. What are your thoughts?



Showing 33 reactions

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  • Betty Ann Bob
    commented 2019-06-25 18:15:34 -0700
    I would like to know why do they build these things on Our Native Land…if it’s so save why don’t there build it on farm land…”my granddaughter in law is from Alberta, she says that s shit …why would there build it on things that I am going to eat” I told her that’s what they are doing to our super market, rivers, forest, just no need to build it…
  • Ben Christie
    commented 2019-06-25 16:04:55 -0700
    " We want informed decisions based on evidence and common sense, and to limit the roles of special interests and excessive partisanship. "
    Yes we do ,however, politicians for the most part ,have demonstrated that common sense is not in their repertoire . They simple seem to fly by the seat of their pants , catering to the person or persons with the most money and whatever path is popular at the moment .This ,evidenced buy the knee jerk reaction by the present government to waste our money purchasing a red herring pipeline . The only place our dilbit will ever go is to the Evil Southern Empire as our port cannot handle the super tankers needed to perhaps make shipping the crud to somewhere else . Saudi Arabia saw the writing years ago when they decided to pump for all they were worth , taking advantage of their easy access oil that the world would buy , no matter how rotten their regime . That , as evidenced by our own wonderful corporate citizens , the Irving’s who want nothing to do with our own product other than to try and store for shipping somewhere . When they stop pumping , other countries like Venezuela will be picking up the slack ,unless that orange headed peckerwood in the ESE can convince enough of the world that they are such bad people .
    Canadians , have been sold a bill of goods by people such as Harper , Kenny ,Sheer and people like Krause spreading garbage . Our dilbit will never be able to compete on any level . The best we could do , If we had leaders with brains , would be to stop sending good money after bad and build infrastructure where we mine the goop , becoming at least self sufficient in one area of our lives , and selling only finished product . It seems that is how China became a leader now of the world economy , be selling ONLY manufactured goods while we continue to give away our resources to the lowest bidder , and even build the infrastructure for them as we are doing now once more with LNG .
  • Terence Gordon
    commented 2019-06-19 17:07:11 -0700
    Thank you, Jody, for explaining your reasoning on this very difficult issue. In my own analysis and contemplation I came to the opposite conclusion. However, it is very important to me that we have thoughtful and engaged representatives, rather than party loyalists. You have my continue support.
  • Betty Ann Bob
    commented 2019-06-19 16:31:45 -0700
    I too appreciate your words I hope the government will not back down the line will go in my back yard makes me sick …my understanding China doesn’t want any more from Canada…NO to the line
  • Katherine Maas
    commented 2019-06-19 11:00:02 -0700
    I really appreciate the thoughtful analysis that went into this piece! Well said!
  • Patrick Lemaire
    commented 2019-06-19 08:38:23 -0700
    Please stop sending me emails and close my account!!! Can’t seem to be able to do it on your website.
  • Terry Etam
    commented 2019-06-19 08:05:07 -0700
    Hi Jody and all commenters, I didn’t think I’d wade back in, said my two cents, but there is a common misconception here that keeps popping up that needs to stop. It relates to the market for oil coming out of TMX and the way the word “economics” is tossed around.
    Anyone who says there is no demand for the oil once it hits the water does not understand at all how crude oil trading works. Once it is in a boat, there will always be a market. Period. THe question is at what price and where it will go, and it can go anywhere. THat is why people want it on ships.
    The only arbiter of demand for the pipeline is whether producers are willing to commit volumes to that pipeline and risk whatever price they will get at the other end. Producers have stepped up and committed for >70% of the capacity, and THEY are willing – with skin in the game – to commit long term volumes to world markets.
    To say that there is no market for the product is unfortunately a sign of a profound lack of knowledge of how crude oil trading works. THat’s nothing to be embarrassed about; 99.9% of the world’s population has no idea how it works either.
    What that does mean though is that it is worth listening to the people who do understand it, and they say that the pipeline is good for Canada.
    Did the government pay too much? that is possible. Will it cost too much to complete TMX? that is possible, but it can and will be recouped from shippers , that is how tolls work – they earn a return on capital invested.
    For people who insist on talking about the economics of pipelines, I implore you to invest some time to understand the business, and not just point to meaningless statistics about how much of the oil went to Asia in the past. Oil is a global, fluid commodity market.
  • Howard Dalen
    commented 2019-06-19 07:18:41 -0700
    I am still perplexed why Canadian environmentalists, and particularly BC environmentalists are focused on Canadian pipelines. There are many other projects and investments going forward that rely on long term fossil fuel use. Why are these being ignored while TMX is the lighting rod?
    Victoria is expanding their cruise ship business. Vancouver is expanding YVR. Vancouver ships huge quantities of coal around the world. Whistler is expanding their international draw of tourists. Do any of these projects meet your 3 tests? Probably not but I’m not hearing you suggesting they be stopped.
    Canada needs money to invest in our efforts to transition from fossil fuels and, probably more importantly, to help other countries make the transition..
  • Roy Watson
    commented 2019-06-19 06:55:22 -0700
    And the beat goes on, the beat goes on! Is it possible Scheer could hit one out of the park with his GREEN energy strategy. We know Canadian technology has long struggled with lowering Co2 emissions even in the days of coal. Through hard work and technology, Canadian technology could yet save the day and make a dent in WORLD pollution, we all know Canadian pollution is barely a problem. Sunny ways be damned, good old hard work and technology is where I’d put my two cents.
  • A.j. King
    commented 2019-06-19 05:28:50 -0700
    For me, it simply comes down to 3 things:
    1) The economic case isn’t there for potential overseas buyers of our oil, which is the whole point of shipping more of it to the coast. It takes 4 times as many ships to take the same load overseas because Vancouver isn’t a deepwater port and can’t facilitate supertankers. Who is going to want our oil when shipping takes longer, and costs 4x as much? When the cost per barrel is super low, it’s not cost effective. When the cost of oil is high, we’ll still have so subsidize the sales though discounted rates to even be remotely competitive on the world stage.

    2) Until there is a way to clean up an oil spill along the coast, it’s not worth the risk. IF the financials somehow supported bringing oil to the coast, then the increased risk due to the increased shipping traffic demands becomes another issue that is equally as valid as point #1. There was a company in Alberta that was working on a treatment for the dilbit, turning it into gelatinous marbles that could be collected if spilled in the ocean. It’s still in development, but we need to be thinking more outside the box in order to find ways to legitimately prioritize the safety of the coast and coastal species, many of whom are already stressed or endangered. Humans simply don’t have the right to put them at greater risk for anything, let alone something as crass as financial gain.

    3) The dying oil economy… Sure, it’ll be a while before we have significantly shifted away from oil, but in the meantime, efforts could be better spent developing better sources for oil. Wind/wave/hydro/solar for increasing electric demands (which Site-C alone is apparently going to be capable of generating far more than BC needs now and for the foreseeable future – which means we can sell to Alberta, Yukon, Alaska, possibly Washington, Idaho), could be pursued in addition to biofuels, (such as rapidly-growing, hearty crops like hemp can give us fibres for paper products and textiles while also giving us oil for fuel as a byproduct). Eventually, when the need for combustable fuels drops, there will still be a need for the fibres. And the oil is edible, so even if it does spill during transport, it’s not toxic. The US managed to create massive tax credits for the corn industry, so that farmers would grow corn for ethanol to add to their gasoline, because even if domestically sourced ethanol only accounts for 5-10% of the fuel you’re using, that is a significant reduction in reliance on foreign oil sellers (many of whom seem to have a penchant for human rights violations). Resources have been the main reason behind EVERY WAR humans have ever fought. The world current runs on oil, so the sooner we can transition off of that resource, the sooner we can avoid invading/occupying foreign lands, killing foreign people – thereby increasing the threat of terrorism in our country, and a side benefit from this approach is that it’ll improve the environment… substantially for those in conflict zones because the armies will stop littering their countries with depleted uranium munitions.

    If the pipeline was at all financially viable, KM wouldn’t have walked away. The walked away because they could use trollboxes/trollhouses to seed social media and polarize the pro and against sides to the point where there is fervent political unrest surrounding the pipeline issue. When the case could be made that political stalemates had become the reason for inaction, KM could force the government’s hand and trigger an exit clause in their contract. The government was forced to pay a huge fine, or spend even more and buy the project outright. Our current PM+party opted to had KM $4.5b, when the company’s shareholder exposure was only around $200m. As such, KM got paid a king’s ransom, for doing no work and ultimately walking away.

    But again, the financials are just the first major sticking point. Frankly, I don’t think there’s any point in consulting First Nations on the expansion project because if you can’t make legitimate arguments against points 1-3 above, there’s no point in asking ANYONE for opinions. Absolutely, First Nations deserve a seat at the table… but there’s currently no basis for even building a table to invite anyone to. The whole thing is a moot point. Canada has an opportunity to make a significant commitment to move past an oil economy, and we should take it while we can.

    I do understand that a bunch of Albertans and transplanted east-coasters are out of work because of the current state of affairs. I will say this, it’s just the beginning. Unrelated to oil, the robot & Artificial Intelligence economies are just starting, and they are poised to chew up 30%+ of the work force in the next 10-15 years. The latest plan from the government that I saw, talked about a funding allotment for retraining people who lose jobs due to robots & A.I… it was enough to retrain 13,000 people. I’ll say that again: Our country is expected to lose 30% of the job market over the coming decade or so, and our government is prepared to retrain just 13,000 people. All I see is the pro-oil side screaming about lost jobs and clinging to the false hope that the pipeline expansion can’t possibly deliver… they are distracted by it, fixated on it.

    As a country, we are fundamentally, catastrophically, woefully unprepared for the monumental shift that is coming. We don’t have to be, but we will be, because our leadership is more interested in virtue-signalling than governing for the sovereignty of the country.
  • Bob Smithers
    commented 2019-06-18 18:59:16 -0700
    Not an emergency. So long as China, Russia, India and the US continue along focusing on jobs and their economy, and not a false emergency, then it doesn’t matter what Canada does. We are only 1.6% of world emissions, therefore, this country could end tomorrow, no more emissions or fuels, and we all become cave dwellers if we don’t freeze to death first. Sorry, but this is just another Virtue Signalling exercise by duplicitous Leftwing politicians, to further invade our wallets. So long as Liz May, Suzuki, Tzeporah Berman, Naomi Klein, and King Trudy himself keep up their endless jetsetting ways, there CLEARLY is no emergency. It’s just a ruse to start the biggest tax grab in history
  • Henry Horovitz
    commented 2019-06-18 18:56:17 -0700
    Canadians are blessed for we live in a country enormously rich in natural resources. Fusil fuel is a strategic resource and we must continue to exploit and benefit from this earthly, G-d given gift. The problem is not with the petroleum. The challenge is that a method must be found to burn it more efficiently, more cleanly. Also, the most advanced, rigorously tested, proven technology, must be employed to transport the oil.
    Finally, there has to be in place the leadership able to effectively communicate that a satisfactory middle ground can be found where both, the concern of environmentalists and the national and global demand for energy can be met.
  • Leslie Kennedy
    commented 2019-06-18 18:32:49 -0700
    This from the hypocrite who permit for Site C Dam…her TALK is CHEAP!
  • Donna Dodds
    commented 2019-06-18 14:07:22 -0700
    Thank you, Jody Wilson Raybould, I was interested to read this gives one some insight into the matter from your perspective. I believe strongly that in this day of Climate Change emergency..which Mr. Trudeau declared last night and then to even think he would approve the project of second pipeline to B.C. re Alberta’s bitumen/oil , etc. seems to indicate he speaks only for himself/the Federal liberal party interests re purchasing with our tax dollars this mess! We must act now re not allowing our Orcas to be destroyed to the point of extinction ..not a matter of if but a matter of when if the tanker traffic goes up to one a day through the B.C. Coastal Waters. B.C. does not want to deal with a massive spill with these tankers plying our waters, whereby it use to be five of these tankers a month! You are wished the very best in the upcoming election. I admire you very much for ‘speaking your truth’. I think it took great courage to run as an independent. Stay strong. Stay the course..and you will do well. Mr. Justin Trudeau is on his way out..he won’t even be around to deal with any of his ill-timed decisions. Times are definitely changing…. oil is on the way out and fossil fuels should definitely go., re Climate emergency. It is too bad for Albertans…they will have to find a new career option. Save our B.C. is the only one we will ever have! Thank you, God Bless.
  • Russil Wvong
    commented 2019-06-18 13:10:36 -0700
    It’s great to see such a thoughtful discussion of the issue. I think you’re right that a key question is: how long will the world continue to need fossil fuels? BC is phasing out gas-burning cars by 2050 (all new vehicles sold must be zero-emission by 2040), which seems like a reasonable target.

    In the meantime, we still have a large fleet of gas-burning cars which depend on Alberta oil. With the recent spike in Vancouver gas prices to $1.70/L, a lot of families are concerned about affordability. Because the Trans Mountain pipeline supplies a lot of our gasoline, expanding its capacity should help here. I think it’s hard for BC to say that we want the benefits of fossil fuels, but not the costs.

    From an economic point of view, shippers (Alberta oil producers) have already bought most of the new pipeline capacity for the next 15-20 years, under “take-or-pay” contracts – even if they end up not using it, they still have to pay. So the financial risk is on the shippers, not the pipeline operator.

    If we need more pipeline capacity, it makes sense to expand an existing pipeline (Trans Mountain has been in place for 60 years), rather than building an entirely new pipeline.

    A lot of the opposition to TMX comes from people who are concerned about climate change. I’m concerned about climate change as well – but I don’t think trying to block new pipelines is a good way to tackle the problem. It just ends up causing a big fight between BC and Alberta (even when they were both governed by the NDP!). And it doesn’t do anything about our existing emissions: it only cuts Canada’s emissions by 8 Mt/year.

    I think a fairer and more effective way to tackle climate change is with the steadily rising carbon price, applying across the entire country, which came into effect a couple months ago. The national climate plan cuts our emissions by 230 Mt/year, and if we need to cut more, we can continue raising the carbon price.

    I understand that there’s at least two First Nations consortiums which are interested in buying ownership of the pipeline, and I hope that one of them is successful – it seems like a good way to make sure that First Nations (who bear a greater share of the risks) also get a greater share of the financial benefits.
  • Patrick Lemaire
    commented 2019-06-18 11:47:18 -0700
    This is such a disappointing letter… So much distorted information. So much lack of commitment to anything! It’s just 100% lip service to commit to nothing at all. What a disappointment you are.
    This pipeline rhetoric should not be about the economy, viability, jobs or if we really need this pipeline or not. Those are just a red herring based on fabricated lies by the proponents of the oil industry and Alberta. It’s really about the environment, First Nation’s rights to say no, common sense, and the future of our country and the planet. It’s about the lies the pipeline proponents have been feeding to the public to push this project against the will of BC. It’s about the incompetence, fabricated lies and obvious corruption of the NEB. It’s about who really will benefit from this project: The oil industry and the people behind it benefiting from it.
    It’s also about the total lack of serious consideration of:
    1) The environmental impact of a spill and the absolute impossibility to prevent a disaster which god only knows when it will happen,
    2) The true LONG TERM impact on jobs that has never been debated truthfully, and the jobs at stake in British Columbia if this project goes ahead,
    3) The monumental reluctance by our elected BC provincial government and First Nation’s opposition by this pipeline construction process

    You talk about alternative energy is in such an hypothetical distant future. Fact is, it is only so because this energy transition process has been undermined by the oil industry lobbying the government against it for many decades! Regardless, alternative energy is now forging ahead at a fast pace now even against the oil industries negative endeavours to stop it!!!
    What about the fact that this whole Tar Sands debacle is heavily subsidized by tax payers?
    What about the very high toxicity of Diluted Bitumen that we don’t even know what it is made of still , because it is so toxic that it must be kept a secret?
    What about the dire consequences of a spill which is inevitable just by analyzing the history of pipeline and supertankers? That these supertankers will be travelling just offshore the BC coast and Alaska on their way to Asia travelling back and forward with highly toxic chemicals?
    What about the fact that a Diluted Bitumen spill cannot be contained or cleaned up?
    What about Global warming? What about Climate Change? What about the age of extinction we human have started and perpetuating? What about the carbon tax true purpose is to keep the Tar Sands diluted bitumen flowing? What about future generations?
    Can’t you think more than your next turn as an elected member of parliament and how to maximize your votes to get elected?

    How can you still be standing on the fence on this issue??? You are being so wishy washy about this issue that it makes you still, an obvious Liberal! You are basically telling us you could support this issue either way. Typical Liberal agenda! Typical 2 face politician who can’t stand for her constituents whenever a backroom deal is in the works. Your lack of commitment against this project proves you really don’t understand the issues BC is facing! You obviously believe, or are part of the lies being released for the support of this pipeline! I can see why you can’t work with either the NDP or the Greens, you have no real platform or stances for the most important issue BC is facing right now. You also seem to lack the ability to work with others, which is the kind of politician we direly don’t need to solve our imminent ecological problems.
    It’s because of dud politicians like yourself that many BC people will end up in jail, end up with a criminal record, to try to stop this mess to protect our environment, our beautiful BC coast, our planet. These people will be the true unsung heroes, the ones who deserve our support, not you!
    Because you have no understanding of the consequences this will have on the future of BC and the planet, you are part of the problem future generations are facing today. An economy that ignores the people and the environment is no more sustainable!
    Alberta don’t care about the environment, Go there and see for yourself. But we do in BC and your electoral platform should reflect that if you plan to run in BC! I sincerely hope you don’t get elected or you should go run in Alberta if you believe these lies about these bogus pipeline benefits. You are no better then a Liberal candidate to me. You are still part of the problems BC face to transit away from fossil fuel energy and lead the way for the world. You don’t deserve the votes the future generations need to survive this imminent catastrophe.

    You should run back to Justin Trudeau. He can use people like you.

    Patrick Lemaire
    Tourism business owner
    Haida Gwaii, BC
  • Vern Glen Shanoss
    commented 2019-06-18 11:31:07 -0700
    us as Indians under the Indian Act.. cannot respond as bands… chief and council are not a government or governance in any which way or form. Title and rights of the people need leadership not owned or paid for by the Canadian government as a program. It is a mess created by governments of Canada and BC. Did anyone ever question how the first one was pushed through? yep, Indian Agents signed off on them. I pay a fortune for gas … my poor Jaguar. lol, Come on let’s smarten up and do this right. and Good luck Jody running as an independent takes a lot of guts.
  • Robert Leighton
    commented 2019-06-18 11:30:39 -0700
    The proposed Kinder Morgan Burrard Inlet tanker logistics are bogus. Burrard Inlet, while it is a Canadian tide water port, is not a deep water port. The shallow (35’) Burrard Inlet can only accommodate the smallest Afromax tankers with an 80% load (440,000 barrels), which means over four times the number of Afromax tankers from Canada versus the Suez (1 million barrels) tankers, and eight times the number of Afromax tankers from Canada versus the VLCC (2 million barrels) from O.P.E.C. currently supplying the Asian market.

    These mini Afromax tankers will have to traverse an extremely busy Vancouver urban port, which handles lumber, wheat, canola, potash and other products from across Canada; as well as numerous cruise ships, float planes, local Seabus cross traffic and pleasure craft.

    All the previous, current and future contracts for Alberta diluted bitumen crude are and have been for delivery to five refineries in Washington state (with the exception of a one-off rail shipment to an Oregon shipping terminal). Only two Afromax tankers carrying non bitumen crude have ever gone out from Vancouver into the Pacific (years ago), one to Hawaii and one to South Korea. There is no Asian market for Alberta diluted bitumen, particularly when it must be expensively supplied in small 80% load Afromax tankers, which must cross the largest ocean in the world (9000 km), to compete in a market currently supplied by superior grade oil carried in Suezmax tankers (one million barrels) and VLCCs very large crude carriers (two million barrels) from the Persian Gulf (4000 km). These O.P.E.C. suppliers (including Iraq, the preferred low acidity Asian supplier) have historically controlled the world price of oil through supply management. Can anyone (other than the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Alberta) really believe that Canada will be able to negotiate a better world price (be a price-maker versus a price-taker) by shipping Alberta diluted bitumen crude out of Burrard Inlet to the Asian markets? Do the Canadian and Alberta governments know of any possible suspects let alone prospects willing to pay enhanced prices for Canadian diluted bitumen F.O.B Asia? If so, why haven’t these countries and entities been clearly identified, as they were for the northern LNG project?

    During the controversial 2014 NEB Trans Mountain hearings, Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. said it would provide 100 per cent of the debt and equity for the pipeline. But the U.S. fracking oil glut, and the further massive recent Permian oil discoveries in Texas and more recently BP discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico have ensured a continuing world oil price collapse. The increasing Kinder Morgan debt levels put the company’s largest capital project on shaky ground. Investor interest waned, and Kinder Morgan Inc. had trouble raising debt or equity in the U.S. markets. Nor could it find any joint-venture partner.

    As a result, the job of raising money for the high-risk project fell to Kinder Morgan Canada. In 2017 an initial public offering by Kinder Morgan Canada raised $1.6 billion, but the funds raised did not go to finance the Trans Mountain expansion project. Instead they were used to pay off debts of the U.S. parent company, Kinder Morgan Inc. Kinder explained the move in a conference call with investors: “So we were able to strengthen KMI’S balance sheet using the IPO proceeds to pay down debt… ” Kinder Morgan Canada has arranged $5.5 billion in construction facility loans from Canadian banks — but only if Kinder Morgan raises $2 billion in equity for the project.

    Refineries in Washington state already have a pipeline connection to the Trans Mountain pipeline from the border at Sumas, and the Vancouver Airport (YVR) VAFFC project is already undertaking a major upgrading of its petroleum storage tanks to receive refined petroleum products. Once the VAFFC project is completed, the consortium will be able to buy jet fuel on the open market. South Korea is the likely supplier, says Rob Smith, energy director for IHS Markit. He expects having access to new markets for jet fuel will drive prices down, which will affect the economics of both the refinery in Burnaby and the Kinder Morgan Westridge terminal. The obvious question is: if South Korea can deliver refined jet fuel petroleum up the south arm of the Fraser river in Panamax supertankers cheaper in cost F.O.B. destination than either the existing Kinder Morgan connection to the airport or 80% loaded Afromax mini tankers from the shallow Burrard Inlet, then how can Kinder Morgan possibly have any potential market in Asia? Isn’t access to Asian markets the Trudeau ‘national interest’ reason for the Kinder Morgan pipeline? Is the Airport Authority dim witted?

    Kinder Morgan raised $1.6 billion in a share issue on the strength of a N.E.B. approval and then paid off their U.S. debt – they had no funds to build the Kinder Morgan pipeline. Why are Canadian taxpayers now paying for the Kinder Morgan project and Canadian companies being forced to agree to a national carbon tax that will make Canadian companies noncompetitive with U.S. companies? Are Canadians dimwitted?

    ALASKA NORTH SLOPE OIL RESERVES ARE RAPIDLY DEPLETING. The refineries in Washington state are already built and they will ultimately need our diluted bitumen crude to replace Alaska Crude IN ORDER TO SURVIVE. We need refined products. Surely the Canadian and U.S. government along with the State of Washington and the Province of British Columbia can encourage an agreement between the Alberta oil sand producers and the Washington state refineries, and between the Washington state refineries and refined petroleum users in B.C., based upon prices each way that both parties can agree is fair. Economists call it ‘comparative economic advantage’, the basis of all free trade.

    The benefits to the State of Washington are obvious. A long term secure source and the ultimate elimination of Alaskan tanker crude shipments coming into Puget Sound.

    The benefits to B.C. are also obvious. A long-term source of refined petroleum at a fair price and no tanker crude traffic out of Burrard Inlet and Georgia Strait.

    There are also major benefits for Canada. Twin the Trans Mountain pipeline to Abbotsford and replace oil rail traffic for desperately needed rail traffic for Canadian prairie wheat, canola and potash.

    The indigenous community benefits. Those communities in the interior, who have signed benefit agreements with Trans Mountain will see them realized, and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation – People of the Inlet will see an end to the Kinder Morgan shipping terminal on Burrard Inlet.

    It would also provide the Kinder Morgan Burnaby tank farm and Westridge terminal for an industrial tax free zone where forestry renewable resources can be transformed into manufactured goods for Asian markets (e.g. pre-fabricated homes and IKEA furniture).
  • Sheryl McDougald
    commented 2019-06-18 11:19:02 -0700
    There are no conditions under which I would accept this pipeline, because there are NO measures available to save Orcas and wildlife, fishing and tourism jobs, and quality of life on the Salish Sea when an oil spill occurs. And it will. Plus we are already climate compromised and that wipes out any false “economic advantage” to TMX. It makes me ashamed to think of the actual building of it which will trample indigenous rights – as we are already seeing RCMP protect industry over Native Land Protection – and the awful prospect of Man Camps. I see nothing but trauma if this pipeline is shoved onto us.
  • Kerry Russell
    commented 2019-06-18 10:33:10 -0700
    Looking at world growth year over year in fossil fuels, I wonder when this transition to renewables will start. I doubt anytime soon. We have been warning about drastic cuts to world emissions for 50 years now and they just keep going up and up.

    This is going to be a very slow transition. Unless nuclear fission finally becomes a reality. Then suddenly you could power cities for months on a few litres of seawater. A few drops could power your car for it’s lifetime. Nobody will wan’t oil anymore if something is 1000X cheaper and still reliable and only releases harmless helium that just floats up into the stratosphere and then to outer space.
  • Glenn Bennett
    commented 2019-06-18 10:27:36 -0700
    Your Damned if you do & Damned if you don’t
  • Adam Nicholas
    commented 2019-06-18 09:50:29 -0700
    How is there no economic basis? Those of you who disagree with this project need to actually understand it.

    It would be the same thing if you stopped allowing groceries to be delivered to stores by truck because people are eating too much.

    If we don’t build a pipe we lose taxes, jobs. Foreign investment confidence, those things roll into other sectors. The demand is there, it’s just a question of if our citizens will benefit from it or a foreign dictator.

    Is the same as the cannabis decision, the demand is there, now we’re capitalizing on it in a sustainable way.

    Do some actual research instead of deciding on your answer and then making points to suit.

    Norway for instance has all but assured their longterm financial prosperity through world leading resource development, that’s a standard to look for. Being ignorant and uninformed about something doesn’t make you fit to decide on it.


    Industry is begging for it. It would’ve been built privately but the government has been too busy banning straws and taking away personal liberties.

    You were right to stand up to little JT on the issue of SNC Lavalin, your out of your depth on this one.
  • Terry Etam
    commented 2019-06-18 09:45:28 -0700
    Hi Jody,
    Thanks for the excellent thoughtful post. Can I add another perspective? I am almost afraid to admit it but I work in the natural gas industry. It is not a fun place to be these days. Can I give you one example? Shell (whom I don’t work for) is one of the more progressive energy companies wrt GHG emissions. Shell essentially pulled out of Canada, selling off its oil sands interests to wide acclaim in the environmental community. However, last year SHell announced a $15 billion expansion in Nigeria. THis is a microcosm of what the world faces – oil, natural gas, AND coal demand all rose in 2018. Production of these fossil fuels is moving to jurisdictions of the world with much lesser regulation than Canada.
    There is therefore a balancing act required – how do we maintain an economy and our standard of living while these sorts of things are going on? TMX (and there IS a market for heavy oil, in much of the world – there is widespread ignorance about how crude oil marketing works – once it is on a boat it will find a home at the right price, the important link is whether producers will accept the price it gets at the terminal – and they most definitely will) won’t change GHG emissions at all, but will help Canada. WOuldn’t it be better to have a healthy Canada (economically) that would pull AS A WHOLE towards emissions reductions? It is overly simplistic to say block pipelines/help environment – it is not that simple at all. I wrote a whole book about this, trying to explain the complexities to the “person in the middle”. We all need to understand the whole picture better – from a place of understanding, not fear and misinformation.
    Thanks for your time.
  • I Sarama
    commented 2019-06-18 09:33:03 -0700
    Dear Jody,

    I have read your thoughts and I think you have not adequately given serious and deep consideration to ALL of the environmental impacts of this expansion project.

    Please watch my film documentary, This Living Salish Sea, for more information, via the link below.

    I hope that you do watch the film in its entirety, and that this is helpful in your understanding of this complex issue.
    Thank you,
  • Norm Prince
    @NormPrince tweeted link to this page. 2019-06-18 08:45:02 -0700
  • ashughes
    commented 2019-06-18 07:08:06 -0700
    As a Green supporter I believe we cannot afford to build any new fossil fuel infrastructure but I admire your level-headed, evidence-based approach. I expect nothing less from all MPs and those seeking to represent constituents at all levels. Unfortunately in today’s climate you are in rare company. Like you I expect the project will be reapproved and that will continue to tie up the project in the courts. It’s incredibly shortsighted of this government and previous governments to continue to try developing Canada’s resources in a way that is essentially predetermined to end up in the courts — this is not good governance. Much respect to you.
  • Emma-Jane Burian
    commented 2019-06-18 07:01:29 -0700
    Thank you so much for your thoughts!
  • ErikaKW/Steveston
    commented 2019-06-18 05:31:40 -0700
    Thank you Jody. I really appreciate your writing , thoughts and views on this subject, also thankful you are running as independent :)
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