Courtenay-Alberni candidates takes sides on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Published on October 7, 2019

In 2018 the federal government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline to push forth its pledge to diversify Canada's petroleum export markets with increased oil flow to the West Coast. (Kinder Morgan photo) 

Vancouver Island, BC — 

The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is aimed to diversify Canada’s markets for petroleum and lessen its dependence on exporting to the United States, but this brings a significant increase in tanker traffic from the Vancouver area. Is Trans Mountain beneficial for Vancouver Island residents?

Jonah Gowans, Liberal:

Yes, the pipeline will benefit Vancouver Island residents by helping fund the transition for Canada away from Oil and to renewables. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government are balancing the needs of now with the needs of the future. Balance though is important Liberal MPs who live on the coast fear an oil spill as do I. That is why there has been a significant investment to make sure the potential impact can be limited, as well as creating the Ocean’s Protection Plan which has gone further to protect the BC Coast.

Gord Johns, NDP:

A seven-fold increase of tankers carrying raw bitumen in our waters is not beneficial for Vancouver Island residents. The $4.5 billion used to purchase this aged pipeline and tanker project could have restored, protected and enhanced wild salmon habitats, developed clean energy training and jobs for our young people and capitalized the infrastructure required for a transition from fossil fuels use in our communities. Major projects must be safe for the environment; have the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous communities and create local jobs. Trans Mountain does not meet these criteria and I oppose its expansion. 

Byron Horner, Conservative:

The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is aimed to diversify Canada’s markets for petroleum and lessen its dependence on exporting to the United States, but this brings a significant increase in tanker traffic from the Vancouver area. Is Trans Mountain beneficial for Vancouver Island residents?

Oil & Gas is Canada’s #1 export and supports jobs and federal tax revenue. TM expansion provides BC with $6.7 billion in tax revenues and 15,000 construction jobs. These tax revenues support health and social spending throughout Nuu Chah Nulth Territory. Oil tankers pass our West Coast every day but we do not currently have the people and equipment to protect our coast. TM expansion commits $1 billion to world-class marine spill response. Port Alberni would receive 20 jobs and two ships and Ucluelet one ship. First Nation communities should be an equal partner in this spill response capability.

Sean Wood, Green:

The global economy is shifting to run on renewable energy sources. This makes expensive long-term projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline a bad investment of government resources, and tankers filled with diluted-bitumen threaten Vancouver Island communities that rely on the ocean.

Greens will cancel the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (and its $10-13 billion cost) as well as billions in other subsidies to fossil fuel industries. This money will be redirected to a renewable energy transition and Canadian Grid Strategy to enable the production of renewable electricity that can flow across provincial and territorial boundaries and create thousands of jobs nation-wide.