by John Weston Constituents have recently expressed concerns about the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. The ongoing national conversation about large-scale energy projects is broader than the proposed project. The conversation must anticipate other projects that need to be considered in the near future, including Kinder Morgan, liquefied natural gas projects, and others. The decisions we Canadians make now will open doors, create opportunities, and shape Canada for generations.
During an extensive review process, the independent Joint Review Panel heard from over 1,450 participants in 21 different communities, reviewed over 175,000 pages of evidence, and received 9,000 letters of comment, after which the panel concluded the project would be in the “Canadian public interest,” provided it was “constructed and operated in full compliance” with the 209 stringent conditions the panel required. This includes an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan that “must demonstrate Northern Gateway’s ability to prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate the potential effects of emergencies of any type and in any geographic region or season.” Our government can now accept the panel’s recommendations, or turn down the proposal altogether.
No project will be approved unless it is safe for Canadians and safe for the environment. For our Conservative government’s record of commitment to that principle, one need look no further than our recent decision with respect to the Taseko Mine Project in northern BC. This was an ambitious proposal that would have created thousands of jobs and significant economic stimulus. Our government did not allow it to proceed, after a rigorous, science-based environmental review by an independent panel concluded that the project would result in significant adverse environmental effects that could not be mitigated.
It may surprise readers to know that, since 2006, this government has invested $18 billion in the environment toward initiatives such as supporting renewable fuels and a cleaner and more efficient transportation system, including more than $3 billion to address climate change and reduce air pollution.
This government is serious about ensuring that resources are transported safely, not just with respect to future energy projects, but also with respect to resources transported by the many pipelines and tankers operating in British Columbia today. That is why we have recently taken steps to develop a world-class marine tanker safety system and further enhance Canada’s world-class pipeline safety system.
In my own role as MP, I have consistently advocated for a sustainable approach to the environment and fisheries. I have pursued this goal in Parliament, at the Howe Sound Community Forum, at the Sea-to-Sky Fisheries Roundtable constituents and I created, and in regular interactions with constituents.
I would support an energy project that delivers jobs and opens markets for Canadian energy exports, but only under stringent conditions that reflect the kind of principles expressed above. Looking to the expertise of the Joint Review Panel on the matter, I know this government will seek a resolution which is in the overall best interest of our country.
John Weston is the member of parliament representing West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country riding.