Cowichan–Malahat–Langford candidates speak on the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline

Published on October 7, 2019

The tanker route from the Trans Mountain pipeline would pass along the south of Vancouver Island, which includes Pacheedaht and Ditidaht territory. (Trans Mountain map)

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?

Blair Herbert, Liberal:

Pipelines are a safer means to transport resources than rail, and the pipeline solves an economic challenge of selling our conventional energy at a discount. 

While addressing these two issues, the pipeline will also benefit Island residents.  The Liberals will seek input from Indigenous groups, exploring options of equity ownership or revenue sharing.  Every dollar the Liberal government earns from this project will be invested to clean transition, for example, electrification projects and efforts to help Indigenous communities transition off diesel power.  And, finally, communities along the coast will benefit from involvement under the Liberals’ Ocean Protection Plan.

Alistair MacGregor, NDP:

I strongly oppose the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline which will triple its capacity, increase tanker traffic nearly seven-fold, and increase greenhouse gas emissions. This project is not beneficial to Vancouver Island residents or Canadians. Climate change is the defining issue of our century and how we respond will determine the survival of future generations.

The Liberal government's approval of the project ignores criticisms of the project's violation of Indigenous rights and concerns raised over the substantial risks posed to the environment, marine life and coastal communities by increased tanker traffic and inevitable oil spills.

Lydia Hwitsum, Green:

No: Not compared to the risk to our coastline, all species that rely on the ecosystem and the potential long-term irreversible impacts of a catastrophic spill.  There is a need to ensure that we protect our precious coastline that has sustained us over time. We must immediately start to transition towards renewable energy and make strategic investments that lead to a just transition for all workers to a green economy that is sustainable.

Conservative candidate Alana Delong did not respond to Ha-Shilth-Sa's question on this issue.