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NEWS: Mulcair suggests BC NDP lost because of stand on Trans Mountain pipeline

The Toronto Star reports, “The federal New Democrats have already begun to sift through the wreckage of the failed British Columbia NDP campaign (to find out exactly what happened), Thomas Mulcair told the Star editorial board Wednesday. …Mulcair said B.C. NDP Leader Adrian Dix — widely predicted by pollsters and pundits to win the election — likely stumbled by declaring an all-out ‘no’ to the Kinder Morgan pipeline and by refusing to respond to Liberal attack ads.”

“Dix’s opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline, which would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline carrying crude oil from Alberta to B.C.’s coast, was too strongly worded, Mulcair added. ‘Given the gutting of environmental assessments in Canada, you can’t say yes to a project like Kinder Morgan’, said Mulcair. ‘The absolute no would have been best stated as, ‘It can’t be yes under the current process.’ …The NDP supports sustainable resource development and has been pushing for an east-west pipeline that would bring jobs to Canadians and preserve domestic energy security, he added.”

The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline proposal involves twinning the existing Alberta-to-Metro Vancouver 980-kilometre pipeline, which would add 550,000 barrels a day capacity to the current 300,000 barrels a day pipeline. It would service more than 30 tankers a month at the Westridge, Burnaby terminal. Kinder Morgan plans to apply to the NEB for permission to construct the pipeline in late-2013. The company wants the pipeline to be operational by 2017. At 550,000 barrels a day, this pipeline is larger than the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline which would carry 525,000 barrels a day.

A poll conducted in September 2012 found that 49.9 per cent of British Columbians oppose the Trans Mountain pipeline twinning, with just 21.9 per cent supporting it. First Nations leaders, environmentalists and the mayors of Vancouver and Burnaby also oppose the expansion.

Implications for NDP opposition to Line 9?
Earlier this week Radio-Canada reported, “Mulcair says that ‘We cannot reverse of the flow of the Enbridge Line 9 pipeline’ because the environmental assessment process is unreliable. The NDP leader made this statement on Monday at a forum on economic issues in Repentigny (a suburb of Montreal). …Mr. Mulcair has in the past defended the idea an east-west transportation of Alberta oil to ensure energy security and reduce dependence on foreign oil, but that his position has changed because of the ‘rampage of environmental laws’ by the Harper government in the C-45 omnibus legislation.”

Line 9 is a 38-year old pipeline between Montreal and Sarnia that passes through more than one hundred communities in Ontario and Quebec. It would carry 300,000 barrels a day of light crude oil (and in the future likely heavier crudes such as diluted bitumen) from Alberta to Montreal.

The cities of Toronto and Hamilton have expressed concern about the pipeline, and Quebec government cabinet ministers have suggested that public hearings would be held to address Quebec’s concerns about the pipeline. Gordon Laxer – a long-time Council of Canadians member and supporter of a Canadian energy strategy – recently outlined his opposition to west-to-east pipelines in a Montreal Gazette opinion piece. US environmental groups have raised the concern that the reversal of the Line 9 pipeline would facilitate an export connection through Vermont and Maine by way of an existing 236-mile pipeline.

For more, please read:
NEWS: Mulcair opposes reversal of Line 9 pipeline
POLL: BC rejects Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain pipelines
VIEW: Fate of pipelines in the balance with tomorrow’s election in BC