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Thunder Bay chapter says Trudeau’s pipeline approvals break key election promises

The Council of Canadians Thunder Bay chapter says the Trudeau government’s approval of the Line 3 and Trans Mountain pipelines breaks key election promises.

In this letter to the editor, chapter activist Ruth Cook says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has broken every one of these promises:

  • A revamped National Energy Board and a renewed process for reviewing energy proposals.

  • Climate leadership, to make Canada a climate-positive force in the world.

  • A new, respectful alliance with indigenous people in Canada, respecting their rights to consultation.

  • Development which would bring many more new jobs to Canada while guaranteeing Canadians’ health and safety and the environment.

Cook highlights, “Mr. Trudeau talked a lot about social license when he was talking about pipelines in the election. He said, among other things, that the National Energy Board process for reviewing all energy projects didn’t have social licence. He recognized there was a certain level of opposition so if we can indicate to them that that level of opposition still continues, at some point, he’ll have to recognize it. If we don’t somehow force our governments to take climate change seriously and deal with it on all fronts open to them, I think we all need to be concerned.”

TBNewsWatch reports, “Cook expects local environmentalists will likely stage a demonstration along with a letter-writing campaign aimed at convincing both Liberal Thunder Bay MPs that these pipelines represent unwelcome, long-term commitments to fossil fuels.”

That article adds, “The Council of Canadians will count itself into a coalition of environmental activists that will return to city council on Dec. 12 voicing opposition to the TransCanada Energy East Pipeline, which would flow just north of the city if approved. Council passed a resolution to delay taking a stand for or against the pipeline in August 2015. Cook said time has only made the case against Energy East stronger.”

Cook says, “Our push is, we have a whole bunch of new information about safety concerns and spill concerns and we have a whole lot of new information about climate change and the implications of pipeline development. Trudeau has been forced to alter the makeup of the National Energy Board. He has been forced to alter the process. We’d like to see more alterations in the process before they pick up the reviews again.”

Today, BNN reported, “Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr is confident the increased energy export capacity the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines afford Canada does not mean Ottawa will be quick to reject other projects under review [including the Energy East and Keystone XL pipelines].”

The Natural Resources minister says, “My understanding is that TransCanada intends to continue through the process [for the Energy East pipeline], the National Energy Board will be well-placed, Canadians will be given ample opportunity to express themselves, and after that process is over, the government of Canada will decide. …Our position on Keystone XL is that we support the project,” he said. “We supported it in the first place, all of the approvals are in place north of the 49th parallel, and if the company wants to proceed, then we’ll be supportive.”

That means that despite the Trudeau government’s approval yesterday of 960,000 to 1,650,000 barrels per day of pipeline capacity, it is not ruling out approval at a later date of the 830,000 barrel per day Keystone XL pipeline or the 1,100,000 barrel per day Energy East pipeline [meaning almost 2 million barrels per day of additional pipeline capacity].

Canada already exports 3.76 million barrels of oil a day to the United States.