Very real concerns surface when the topic of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project comes up in conversation. The recent alliance formed in BC between the Green and NDP parties led to this explicit statement that they will “immediately employ every tool available to the new government to stop the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, the seven-fold increase in tanker traffic on our coast, and the transportation of raw bitumen through our province.”
However, Alberta is constitutionally entitled to the free and fair transport of our products throughout Canada. This is a fundamental part of being part of the confederation. Interprovincial pipelines are a federal responsibility and this project has the approval of the federal cabinet as well as the National Energy Board. As it stands now, BC can make it very difficult for the projects to go ahead and their decisions will have far reaching consequences for Albertans, and indeed for the whole country.
It is unfortunate that our government believes they have the “social license” needed to get the pipelines approved because they imposed the crippling carbon tax on Albertans. This is political posturing intended to make Albertans think that the government somehow embodies the will of Canadians to move the project forward. Rex Murphy (see endnote 1 below) in the National Post called this idea: “a vapour of pure political duplicity” and Wildrose calls it: “political snake oil.”
Our economy is in shambles with 100,000 unemployed Albertans, 84,000 full-time jobs lost last year, and international companies that have left the province. Instead of congratulating themselves on their social license, our government should be upholding our constitutional rights, the decisions of the NEB with respect to transporting our oil, championing our oil industry, and establishing strong working relationships with First Nations and stakeholders to ensure that there is confidence about the ability to move oil across the provinces to tidewater in an environmentally safe way for the benefit of all Canadians.
As always my door is open, come in and chat soon.
Mark Smith is the Wildrose MLA for the Drayton Valley-Devon constituency, including much of the County of Wetaskiwin. He can be reached by phone 780-542-3355 toll free 1-800-542-7307, Drayton Valley – Devon constituency office Box 7272 Drayton Valley, AB, T7A 1S5, email firstname.lastname@example.org.