As an opposition MP I am always mindful of an old quote that suggests “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain- and most fools do” it is one of the reasons why I often make a point to propose alternatives to Government policy in place of constant opposition. At the same time I think it is also important to credit the Government on those measures that on balance can help to build a stronger Canada. Last week the Liberal Government announced that it would be approving both the Enbridge Line 3 and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline projects while cancelling the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
Here in British Columbia the approval of the Trans-Mountain pipeline in particular is a subject of considerable debate and opposition in many areas of the Province. The Trans Mountain approval is subject to 157 binding conditions that are intended to address concerns ranging from First Nations, environmental, project engineering as well as safety and emergency response. The value of this project is just under $7-billion and will create 15,000 new jobs during construction. This pipeline will also generate $4.5 billion in federal and provincial government revenues. While I realize my agreement with this Liberal government decision will comes as a disappointment to some it should be noted that this project essentially replaces the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system between Edmonton, Alberta, and Burnaby, British Columbia that is now over 50 years old. The new pipeline will also be twinned to increase capacity. In my view I agree with the Government that this pipeline is ultimately in our Canadian national interest.
The Enbridge Line 3 approval is also a pipeline replacement project, subject to 37 binding conditions addressing similar concerns to the Trans-Mountain approval. Line 3 is valued at just under $ 5 billion to replace slightly over 1,000 kilometres of existing pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Gretna, Manitoba and will create roughly 7,000 new jobs during construction. Revenues to the Federal and Provincial Government will exceed $500 million.
While many oppose Canadian oil resources being exported at the same time there is little protest against oil imports to Canada, in particular Eastern Canada, where Oil is imported from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Angola and Nigeria among others. It should also not be overlooked that these offshore countries do not have carbon tax or other environmental regulations in effect similar to Canada. It is for this reason that many support the Energy East pipeline project as it could greatly eliminate the need to import foreign oil and also take capacity from Western Canada oil producers thus reducing demand to export. In both of these scenarios tanker traffic would also be greatly reduced that in turn also lessens dependence on oil by rail.
While there is no perfect solution the recent pipeline approvals by the Prime Minister has the potential to increase employment and generate more revenues for the Federal and several Provincial Governments. Overall I believe the Government made the right decision in granting these approvals, more so when one considers both of these projects are replacing existing pipeline infrastructure with newer and safer technologies. I welcome your comments, questions and concerns on the recent pipeline approvals or any other topic before the House of Commons.
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament elect for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.