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 … https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/support-for-kinder-morgan-pipeline-expansion-grows-in-b-c-new-poll.
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.