Kinder Morgan Opponents’ Gloating Will be Short-lived

The Federal Court ruling on Trans-Mountain’s pipeline project did not KILL the twinning expansion … it only delayed it.

The WORST the Court concluded was that  the federal government “failed to engage and dialogue meaningfully and grapple with the concerns expressed to it in good faith by the Indigenous applicants so as to explore possible accommodation of these concerns.”

What concerns?  Potential problems and possible solutions arising from the offshore SHIPPING of the oil once it leaves Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby refinery … and meaningful dialogue with indigenous bands over their concerns about the pipeline.

NOT the pipeline project itself.

In fact, the Court … according to news reports … actually dismissed and rejected most of the objections and arguments raised by major project opponents … including the BC government, First Nations that oppose it and the cities of Burnaby and Vancouver.

The decision … which, of course, is subject to possible appeal … really only requires two more actions that I would submit are fairly straightforward and not unreasonable.

As Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer noted the Court recommended : “For starters, the cabinet should refer the project back to the national energy board for “reconsideration,” this time taking into account the concerns flagged by the court” … AND ““Canada must re-do its Phase 3 consultation,” with the five First Nations and one Indigenous collective that were fighting the project in court.”

NONE of this, the Court added, would give the First Nations or any other objectors veto powers over the project or even any guarantee their proposals need be adopted.

In other words … the requirement is just to consult “meaningfully”.

That will delay the twinning … and on the positive side,  it could even result in improved design,  a better route and stronger environmental protections … but it will NOT stop it.

However,  on the negative side, now that the taxpayers … not Kinder Morgan … own the pipeline,  various opposing groups could now feel emboldened by the Court ruling and try to blatantly BLACKMAIL and SHAKE DOWN Ottawa rather than discuss and negotiate fairly to resolve their legitimate concerns.

But, if that happens,  the feds do have other powers they could invoke.

Notwithstanding this Court ruling, Ottawa could pass new legislation expediting the project in the national interest. (The NDP would object; Tories would huff and puff, but not vote against it in the end.)

Polls show most Canadians AND most British Columbians want the Kinder Morgan twin pipeline to go ahead …

I can’t say I was ever a great fan of the idea of having oil tankers in Burrard Inlet, but that was done many decades ago … legally, at an investment of of hundreds of millions of dollars,  and the truth is the twinning will reportedly add only one more ship a day to the 18,000 a year that already load, unload and ply the waters of Vancouver’s harbour.

Certainly not enough to justify the hysteria we’ve seen lately from the extreme protestors, agitators and anarchists who tried to steal the spotlight and the agenda.

Ottawa should try to consult meaningfully with legitimate interest groups; it can also appeal the Court ruling; and, it can pass legislation pushing the pipeline ahead.

Whichever route they choose, it’s time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government to complete the pipeline.

Harv Oberfeld

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22 Responses to Kinder Morgan Opponents’ Gloating Will be Short-lived

  1. Gene The Bean says:

    I agree Harvey, it will just be delayed. Far too much money already invested in the tar sands (unfortunately) to kill it. We’ll have the infrastructure in place to extract oil for the next 100 years. Unfortunately, it’ll only be economically viable for the next 20. Renewables are making ‘big oil’ more redundant every day. Fossil fuels for the production of electricity will be dead rather quickly. Fossil fuels for home and personal transportation use will be diminished every year going forward. We still need oil and gas, but 30 years from now, it’ll be miniscule consumption compared to today.

    No surprise the NEB and Harpers government did not do meaningful consultation starting in 2013. Just like the NAFTA negotiations now, conservatives have little use for what the people need or want – they work for the corporatists, full stop.

    (Response: Renewables and clean energy ARE the way of the future. However oil and gas … and moving them by pipeline or rail car and ships will still be around AND NEEDED for another 50 years … so no sense closing ourselves off from the energy and the revenues they can provide to fuel our needs and even improve services/spending on those who really need it. h.o.)

  2. Beenie says:

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. This project is 6 years long. How many more comments are needed?? NONE!!This project won’t get started until the next Federal and Provincial elections. And hopefully they will BOTH be out of power. The delay will again as always be the indigenous. There are way too many tribes/communities. Why don’t they have an indigenous party with ONE vote? Then they can discuss amongst themselves and have one comment that may be meaningful instead of what happens these days. So for now the best that should happen is the Green Party and the NDP disappear and some open minded politicians take over. As for the federal Liberals, well I will save that for another day.

    (Response: There are SEVERAL First Nations bands that SUPPORT the pipeline project and will share the benefits from it. I also believe others will come on board once their concerns are properly dealt with and they also get to share the benefits. But if there are any way up north that just try to stand in the way, for the sake of not stirring a blade of grass on their lands, I wish there was an intrepid reporter left with the backbone to ask them … as I would: “How do you ever expect to get out of your poverty … without resource development???” h.o.)

  3. mike says:

    Harvey, I keep hearing about clean energy being the way of the future. I don’t believe any of it. Dirty energy is here to stay for your generation and many generations to come. Tesla is on the verge of collapse. But clean energy is the future? Nonsense.

    (Response: Actually, there have already been huge increases in the use of clean energy around the world … solar, wind, electric cars. I would agree oil etc will never disappear (until we run out) but the use of cleaner energy will also continue to grow and flourish in the future… and even though I believe the Trans Mountain pipeline should proceed, I also believe we should encourage and support clean energy projects wherever they make sense. h.o.)

  4. NVG says:


    Harvey could you elaborate and name some of the ‘various opposing groups’ that will blackmail and shake down (criminal)?

    (Response: How could anyone say specifically which group(s) will try to blackmail or shake down the government BEFORE they do it? But it’s no secret that governments … with their bottomless pits of taxpayers’ money and an election looming are much more susceptible to pressure to achieve a “deal” than are private companies, that answer directly to corporate shareholders. Once the details of the Federal Court ruling sink in … and there’s no doubt the project WILL go ahead, I’d bet there are several groups that will try to squeeze Ottawa for all kinds of concessions … including more $$$. Watch for it! h.o)

  5. frozentundra says:

    Wish I shared your optimism Harvey

    The three judges have had a hand in the cancellation of two major pipelines and their ideas of consultation means that all the FN will have to get on board. And you know Chief Stewart Phillip never agrees to anything that Canada brings forward unless it brings him publicity and money.And even if they agree to a certain level, there comes in Greenpeace, the City of Burnaby, the City of Vancouver and finally the province of BC to launch hundreds of court cases. They can lose dozens of them but only need to win one to put the pipeline back another bunch of years. Large industrial projects will never get built again. If this gang of judges was around earlier The Trans Canada Highway and the CPR would never get built.

    (Response: I don’t share your opinion of Chief Phillip: I believe under the right kind of agreement adequately protecting the environment and benefitting his people, he would go along with the project. Yes, there are many groups that will not accept this (or any other pipeline) but the Court seemed to understand that and even recommended ways and time limits for meaningful consultation … BUT without ANY requirement of unanimity or even agreement … leaving the final decision to the federal government, once the process is completed fairly. Watch for it: the project will be completed. h.o.)

  6. harry lawson says:


    Another stellar post.

    I have agreed with nr bean twice noe lol . we will always need petroleum products to ensure clean energy . how else could you make the plastic and glass pieces. The issue has always been meaningful consultation. Labour law is full judgements defining what meaningful consultation should entail.

  7. harry lawson says:


    Another stellar post.

    I have agreed with mt bean twice now lol . we will always need petroleum products to ensure clean energy . how else could you make the plastic and glass pieces. The issue has always been meaningful consultation. Labour law is full judgements defining what meaningful consultation should entail.

    (Response: The problem, of course, will be that, even after “meaningful” consultation, the government is not obliged by the Court decision or any law to accept all … or any demands or recommendations of those consulted. So some will no doubt claim the consultations were therefore not “meaningful” and head back to Court. But I’d bet the Court would be less likely to delay the project again if Ottawa demonstrates it DID make honest efforts to listen and adopt at least some of the ideas presented. h.o)

  8. Beenie says:

    Where are all the NAY SAYERS???
    They must be hiding with all the trump supporters who are afraid to admit their idiocies.

    (Response: I think, despite their celebrating, they know I am correct. h.o.)

  9. D. M. Johnston says:

    Consult meaningfully, something that is never done in Canada as all major projects tend to be ordered from the Premier’s or Prime Minister’s Office and consultation is nothing more than a dog and pony show.

    From what I have read, this pipeline is a fop and has become a commercial liability and why Kinder Morgan unloaded it so quickly on the hapless Trudeau.

    With political tides turning everywhere and Canada being isolated by the fascist USA (and they are) and Europe, it would be best to refine the bitumen in Canada and curb our imports of Saudi oil.

    There are massive storm clouds on the horizon as our current ecconomic regime is slowly decaying and the countries that are self sufficient are the ones that will ride out the storm.

    All th pipeline will do is line big corporations pockets with more money and will leave Alberta with bloody little.

    To blunt, it is time Canada cease being hewers of wood and drawers of water.

    (Response: I disagree. The world will be a huge consumer of oil and gas for many more decades, despite innovations and growth of alternatives. That pipeline oil will sell before it even gets into the pipe. As for “time Canada cease being hewers of wood and drawers of water” … easy to say, but the prosperity of hundreds of Canadian communities are tied to mining, lumber, resource extraction … and it’s dreaming to think the hundreds of thousands of jobs and the billions of dollars of revenues produced by those industries can be replaced country-wide by anything else for many, many more years. h.o.)

  10. John's Aghast says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare neither KMP nor Site C will be completed. I know, it’s getting harder and harder to sink Site C’s Sunk Costs given that it’s still motoring on (Is it?) and I shan’t repeat all the reasons it’s a dead duck, but I want to go on record so as to be able to tell you “I told you so” five years from now.

    You don’t need to be told by an octogenerational like myself; listen to the younger generation. They are still thinking positively, and creatively, in spite of, or because of what we have done to their planet. And yes, I WILL be around five years from now – just to experience the excitement.

    (Response: It won’t take five years to witness the Official Opening of BOTH Site C and the Kinder Morgan twin pipeline. But stick around anyway … who knows what other projects will be announced to keep both our blood pressures pumping! h.o)

  11. Diverdarren says:

    Harvey, one had to laugh at how this has all happened. Good on the no progress people. With any luck, between investment being scared out of Canada by this debacle , plus Trudeau’s ineptitude over trade, and with soaring deficit spending we should be in the middle of a recession by the time elections come around.

    Short term pain for Canada, but if it means the Liberals getting the boot, it’ll be long term gain.

    I love the irony that this mess that Trudeau the Younger has to fix stems from Daddy Pierre’s flawed Charter. When the PET Liberals wrote a Charter that tried “reverse racism” to ameliorate imagined inequalities they gave the Indigenous groups a near veto over Canadian decisions.

    Prior to the Charter breaking with the Western Democracy fundamental truths of Natural Justice the people of Canada as a whole determined their destiny, regardless of race. Now, Canada must consult specifically with one racial group to develop societal direction And by consult I think we all understand that mean to”pay off” the natives.

    It actually makes me smile that Trudeau the Younger is getting his arse kicked by his father’s legacy.

    (Response: But maybe Trudeau will be seen as a GENIUS (LOL!) because, by the time the federal election takes place Oct 21, 2019 Canada will have: a new great NAFTA trade deal; the KM pipeline will be fully approved and under construction; and so will be the new Broadway subway AND Surrey’s new LRT line (both with federal assistance); while the Tories two factions … Scheer vs Bernier … are fighting tooth and nail between themselves. h.o.)

  12. Gilbert says:

    Would the prime minister have bought the pipeline if he had known there would be court delays? I doubt it.

    (Response: Maybe he figured there would be delays and that Kinder Morgan’s pockets weren’t deep enough to keep fighting, but Ottawa’s are. ho.)

  13. 13 says:

    I was chatting with someone the other day and it was said if Justin wants to retain BC seats, if Justin wants to hang on to any Alberta voters, if Justin wants to make first nations people happy all Justin has to do is revisit his wrong headed stupid and somewhat dunderheaded rejection of the Northern Gateway pipeline. He owns the pipeline so he can just leave the current pipeline as is and spend the tax payers money to build a new pipeline with a Northern seaport.
    Now while Justin is taking bows and applause for that gutsy decision he could also take Linda Heppner aside and after a very clear and concise verbal tune up Linda could on her way out the Surrey door proclaim she has changed her mind and the LRT is out and Skytrain is in.
    GO team Justin.

  14. Rob says:

    If the government is willing to spend $4.5 billion for a pipeline valued at under $1 billion and then is willing to spend another $10 billion on construction then why the hell don’t they just build a refinery?

    (Response: I think another refinery would be a good idea … but where? I can still remember the putrid smell emanating far and wide from the refinery in east end Montreal. So build one, yes, but not in my backyard. h.o.)

  15. e.a.f. says:

    Buying the pipeline made sense, in opinion. Pipelines actually make money. I’d as soon the federal government hung onto it instead of selling it, especially to any foreign interests.

    If consultation is needed, and it is done properly, who knows the First Nations may get on board, other First Nations did, but it depends upon where you live.

    Its not the pipeline I’m worried about, it the tankers, its the frequency of those tankers, its the crew, etc.

    None of this does anything for the environment, but that is another topic.

    I expect the pipeline will go ahead. The Site C., I’d rather they just for get about it. Put solar panels on all new houses and start working on renewable energy. Oil will always be needed because we make so many things out of it, which includes plastics, clothing, car parts, even medical equipment, etc. We just need to use it carefully and protect our environment while we use the stuff.

  16. NVG says:

    @13 number 12

    Trudeau could just as easily turn the new line due South at Sumas and not increase marine traffic out of Port Metro Vancouver

  17. e.a.f. says:

    NVG, #15, excellent point. If there are no refineries here, he may get a deal from the refineries in Washington State and they may have less political blow back with it going out via their waters

    Works for me, don’t know if it will work for those around the American port, but a sharp left turn at Sumas and go south, works for me. It will work for Alberta, the First Nations concerns will be dealt with, the enviormentalists, perhaps not so much, but they can go protest in Washington State.

    Trudeau has more to think about than just B.C. There are 9 other provinces and a few territories. It just is too bad we don’t have refineries in Alberta so we could use the oil ourselves and save some money. Well if Trudeau purchased the pipeline, whats an oil refinery or two……….I’m good with it.

  18. Gene The Bean says:

    Big Oil backed by conservative governments have purposefully NOT built more refinery capacity in Canada.

    They can manipulate all levels of the supply chain this way. From start to finish we are screwed over and the only winners are foreign (mostly) owned corporations, their executives and shareholders and bought off politicians.

    Crude oil goes up, gas goes up. Crude oil goes down, Gas goes up. Dollar goes up, gas goes up. Dollar goes down, gas goes up. Long weekend, gas goes up…. anyone disputing that? Thirty years ago I stopped supporting the conservative movement because I realized they don’t care about 99% of the population. They only care about the rich and corporations. One exception are the racists and haters whom they have now welcomed as their blubbering base.

    What can we do? Elect governments – at all levels – that put people before profits.

    In my little village we have one neo-con on council. Almost every vote is 5-1. Anything positive towards social housing, homelessness, the drug problem, social services, teen issues, the arts, even a rainbow crosswalk – he votes against. He even voted against giving a Syrian refugee family free bus passes and free pool passes even though it costs the city nothing. The buses still run, the pool still operates, whether there is a refugee family using it or not. I’d bet my last dollar he’d be in favour of a white Christian refugee family getting a one year pass though….

    I cant be the only one that realizes what conservatism has become……

    (Response: But how do we “Elect governments – at all levels – that put people before profits” ??? Seems to me they all promise to do that …but once elected, cater mostly to their “base” …ie those who fund their party and/or campaign … corporations, unions, business organizations, activist group, even powerful ethnic, indigenous and cultural lobbyists … doing far too little or nothing for ordinary “people”. h.o)

  19. 13 says:

    I to had an epiphany about 30 years ago. I realized that my support for the NDP Federally and Provincially was working against me . They were only interested in public sector workers. It became very apparent that the only party to support was the conservatives. The Liberals/NDP saw the private sector as no more than a source of tax dollars to fund the public sectors defined pensions and extravagant benefit plans
    Today we have the Trudeau Liberals in power. Crude oil goes up gas goes up. Crude oil goes down gas goes up. Trudeau even has the nerve to raise our taxes to help fund his ego tripping claims that Canada is a climate change warrior.
    And another dirty thermal coal train rumbles past en route to Roberts Bank. American dirty coal that every port city on the West Coast of the USA refused to handle.
    Trudeau buys a pipeline and raises our carbon tax at the same time.
    As far as labeling someone a racist or a hater because of their political affiliation that in itself says more about the author than needs to be said.

  20. r says:

    Esp if its decided to take the northern route to BC/Alaska border

  21. Richard Skelly says:

    A question no media analysis seems to have answered: Does the Federal Court Of Appeals ruling preclude the existing TransMountain pipeline being immediately renovated-repaired? After all, there recently was a leak.

    The sooner the better for bringing the old pipeline up to snuff. That way, oil can more safely flow to the Burnaby terminal for loading into the contracted three or four tankers per week.

    And the Feds can start to get a return on “our” investment while further consultations with native groups, environmental studies on increased tanker traffic and a potential appeal to the Supreme Court Of Canada unfolds.

    (Response: My understanding is the case before the Court had nothing to do with the existing pipes: they can be repaired/maintained…. and, as far as I know, oil IS flowing through the old line now. h.o.)

  22. Jay Jones says:

    But how do we “Elect governments – at all levels – that put people before profits” ???

    If that hasn’t been figured out by now then it’s probably best to just accept that we all can only do our best while low quality political leadership regularly contributes a bunch of low quality crap to the creators of a world-class city and province.

    From creating a world-class city and province to bickering over things like kids bicker over toys.
    Wholly dudsville.

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