Jagmeet Singh accuses Trudeau Liberals of rigging Trans Mountain pipeline review process

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When pipelines and tankers spill…



The spectacular cynicism behind Trudeau’s pipeline morass


"Politically, it lays bare the cynical mechanics behind the Liberal government strategy regarding pipelines."

The electoral brilliance of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party approach to pipelines lies in its simplicity: we can at once protect the environment and harvest our landlocked, carbon-heavy oil and pipe it to the coast, to be sold and burned at great profit. The abject hypocrisy in this approach — claiming environmental stewardship while enabling environmental



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This is serious shit and I doubt, when it eventually gets there, that the SCC is going to allow this project to proceed in its present form, if at all. More significantly, at least politically, this could force the federal Liberals into a minority government, or worse for them, in the next federal election. 

Liberals dismissed risks when they approved Trans Mountain expansion

Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain expansion without taking any steps to address the risks involved.


One of the many promises made by Justin Trudeau’s Liberals in taking power was a review of the federal environmental assessment process. And the need for change on that front was highlighted when the Harper government’s approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline was overturned by the courts.

But somehow, all the lessons which should have been learned from that failure seem to have been thrown out the window when it comes to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. And in the face of an artificial deadline imposed by Kinder Morgan, we’re just now discovering how far Trudeau has gone in replicating the mistakes of his predecessor.

For example, in the fall of 2016, researchers including Thomas Sisk completed a new study of the potential impacts of diluted bitumen on the marine environment. That study found substantial gaps in our ability to assess and respond to the dangers of diluted bitumen — and its authors offered to meet with government officials to highlight their research in greater depth.

Instead, Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain expansion without taking any steps to address the risks involved.

But that isn’t to say the research was ignored altogether. Instead, Sisk eventually learned that the federal government’s response to his offer of up-to-date expert information was … to dismiss it internally with political talking points.

And this week, a report by Mike De Souza confirmed that a similar strategy was applied to the Liberals’ overall review process for Trans Mountain.

Even as Trudeau’s government claimed to be carrying out consultations, it issued instructions to public servants demanding excuses to approve the expansion, while refusing to even consider whether a rejection or even a new review might be feasible options. And the Liberals acted at the behest of Kinder Morgan in shortening timelines and dismissing concerns. (As such, there’s ample precedent for Kinder Morgan’s threats extracting concessions from our governments.)

Speaking of Kinder Morgan, its own background is also worth noting in evaluating the Liberals’ actions.

As pointed out by journalist Andrew Nikiforuk, Kinder Morgan emerged as a spinoff of Enron — another corporate monolith that conspicuously applied political pressure to undermine regulatory processes, then exploited the resulting lack of regulation. (Of course, in Enron’s case the result was a corporate structure which collapsed under the weight of widespread fraud.)

And Kinder Morgan has elected not to put its own skin in the game to fund Trans Mountain.



On Trans Mountain, Jagmeet Singh tries to make himself matter

NDP leader suggests he'd unite Canadians around a Supreme Court reference





Kinder Morgan underestimating environmental, health risks of pipeline expansion - report

A small First Nation's environmental assessment of Kinder Morgan Canada's $5.4-billion oilsands pipeline expansion could "delay or derail" the megaproject, according to a legal analysis of the report.



NorthReport wrote:

Kinder Morgan underestimating environmental, health risks of pipeline expansion - report

A small First Nation's environmental assessment of Kinder Morgan Canada's $5.4-billion oilsands pipeline expansion could "delay or derail" the megaproject, according to a legal analysis of the report.


I find many of  your links informative NR but please double check the dates. This one is from 2015.


I missed the date, thanks Pondering


Except it is no longer the West vs the rest of Canada (Janigan's the author of "Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark: The West versus the Rest since Confederation.").

What happened!

B.C. politicians need a history lesson





Why isn't Ottawa taking over BC's reference question and submit it directly to the SCC?  






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Trudeau’s pipeline may be sinking - with a boat-load of public cash in it


Last Wednesday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh challenged Trudeau to let Canadians see internal government documents from the months prior to December 1, 2016, when the Trudeau Cabinet approved Trans Mountain.

Singh accused the government of “rigging” the approval while running “window dressing” consultations.

Singh’s accusations came after media reports, first published in the Vancouver-based National Observer, revealed Trudeau sped up consultations following intense lobbying by Kinder Morgan and despite public service memos warning a Minister the consultations were “paternalistic,” “unrealistic” and “inadequate.”

If the court quashes Trudeau’s approval, it would be exactly because Trudeau didn’t live up to his promise to be better than Harper.

But there are at least two other reasons to think Trans Mountain may already be sunk.

First, Kinder Morgan seems reluctant to meet higher spill response requirements that may be coming.

In February, the B.C. government launched consultations on new spill requirements. But rather than engage the discussion, pipeline backers went bonkers, accusing B.C. of overstepping jurisdiction.

Nonsense. Sure, while bitumen is in a pipeline or ship — or even in an ocean spill — it’s a federal responsibility. But when an oil spill hits BC’s shore, land or creeks it’s the province’s problem. These jurisdictional facts have been proven in court over and over again.

Not unreasonably, B.C. wants ship and pipeline operators to file spill response and preparedness plans. If that’s what causes a massive political freak-out, it’s a telling sign.

Second, Kinder Morgan Canada hasn’t got the money. A year ago, it raised $1.75 billion in an initial stock offering. That cash wiped out lots of company debt. But company statements from March 31 only show about $300 million in current assets for a project expected to need $7 billion. The 2017 IPO price was $17; today those shares are up only 1.5%. Another stock offering to raise billions more seems unlikely.

If the court quashes the Trans Mountain approval, Trudeau will have put himself in a terrible political box — one even worse than Harper’s.

Trudeau is now considering whether to pump billions into Kinder Morgan to keep their project afloat. But if Trudeau failed to adequately consult back in 2016, the court will torpedo the project. If that happens, Trudeau alone will be to blame for this project sinking — and maybe taking a boat-load of public cash down with it.




What B.C. really wants out of its Kinder Morgan fight


Mr. Heyman could not cite any set of actions by Ottawa that would result in his province standing down on its legal case.

He says Ottawa has made clear that it doesn’t need the blessing of the province of B.C. for the pipeline. And that leaves his government with no choice but to proceed to the courts.

“A ‘yes’ from the province of British Columbia is not required. The federal government has made it clear that the Constitution says they have final approval over an inter-provincial project,” he said.

“What the Constitution gives provinces, is the right to impose conditions and regulations to protect our environmental and economic and social interests, and that’s what we are doing. It doesn’t mean we like the project.”

The reference case could take months – or years – to wind its way through the courts. But Kinder Morgan Inc. has accused the B.C. government of trying to indirectly kill the project by creating risk. It has issued a May 31 deadline for Ottawa to remove that risk.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to be in Vancouver on Monday. He isn’t expected to announce how his government will defuse B.C.’s court challenge, but his government has very little time left to act. And a political compromise seems unlikely.


progressive17 progressive17's picture

I still have a very hard time wrapping my head around the concept that we need the pipelines to make our Paris commitments. Trudeau and his people just seem to state this with no underlying explanation. It not only seems counterintuitive to me, but illogical as well.


My hunch is that a lot of people in the Vancouver area would be happy if we got rid of the present pipeline, and all the tanker traffic that we already have.

Dear Justin: I Wrote to Your Father 48 Years Ago, Please Read the Response

At age 11, I was inspired to learn former prime minister Pierre Trudeau called protecting nature ‘an act of sanity.’




progressive17 wrote:
I still have a very hard time wrapping my head around the concept that we need the pipelines to make our Paris commitments. Trudeau and his people just seem to state this with no underlying explanation. It not only seems counterintuitive to me, but illogical as well.

The argument being presented by the Liberals is that we need Alberta oil to finance the transition to renewables. Apparently we also need it to pay for social programs. That is how they hoped to buy "social licence".  

The advertising offensive to all of Canada is because as an Alberta/BC disagreement the sides are even. As a Canada/BC disagreement BC is wildly outnumbered. 

If they were genuinely confident in their ability to push the pipeline through they would have done a Court reference when they first thought about it. They would certainly join the BC reference because then it would go directly to the Supreme Court and get a quick response. More legislation will clarify nothing because it can't override the constitution. 

If Clark were still in power, no problem. They believed, and still hope, that public pressure will force Horgan to stand down and withdraw his court reference. Even saying they will financially invest in the pipeline is an attempt to get public pressure to force Horgan to relent. They are trying to give Horgan an opportunity to save face while withdrawing opposition. The enomous "open letter" was also intended sway public opinion and give Horgan a way of retreating by saying he would negotiate better protections with the feds while at the same time making him seem unreasonable for refusing to withdraw the court reference in exchange. 

The court reference is not about the pipeline per se. It is about the right of provinces to have envionmental protections greater than that of the federal government which is a far larger issue and precedence setting. That is why Quebec is sticking its nose in. Environmental protection isn't in the consitution so it has been a shared responsibility. Both levels of governments pass environmental laws. 

The tradition in Canada is to respect both levels of government and encourage cooperation between them. The feds argument is that because pipelines are a federal jurisdiction provinces have zero rights. The feds have a responsibility to consult but the final decision is theirs. Their position was they were just being generous to allow BC to set conditions for the company to meet. Throughout there has been an emphasis on pipelines being a federal jurisdiction therefore superceding any and all provincial objections. Any negotiations were just in the spirit of keeping the peace. 

The argument the feds and Alberta are presenting is that the reference question it is just a means of circumventing the law, which gives the decision on pipelines to the feds. For that reason it is "vexatious litigation" and should be dismissed. 

I don't think that will fly because the reason they are trying to stop the pipeline is based on environmental projection, not just a desire to stop the pipeline for some other reason. 

The powers that be know there is an excellent chance that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of BC. because to do otherwise would be ruling that BC has no right to protect its environment if it clashes with something the federal government wants to do. That would cause a constitution crisis. 

A question cannot be deemed "vexatious litigation". It wouldn't even cause a delay because it is occuring at the same time as other court cases which have yet to be decided and might not be decided for years. One FN case hasn't reached the Supreme Court yet. It isn't delaying construction. KM states they are withdrawing based on increased risk but there was always a chance the FN case will win so it was not a sure bet and hasn't been for many years. 

The reason for Notley's frantic threats and Trudeau's firm declarations is because talk is the only power they have. They do not have the legal authority to allow construction to begin or to enforce their decision. Even the work on the tank farm is intended to intimidate or to show it is a fait acompli and can't be reasonably stopped. It's trying to create "facts on the ground" that push public opinion in favor of the pipeline to the extent that protesters can continue to be arrested. Even the talk on being sued through NAFTA is a scare tactic. Same with saying government money will be invested. Money that the public will not want to lose. 

They are constantly saying the delay is costing millions of dollars a day. No it isn't. That's a projection based on shaky assumptions. We can just as easily say blocking the pipeline is saving us billions of dollars in cleanup costs and lost revenue from tourism and the fishing industry not to mention saving the lives of Burnaby residents when the tank farm catches fire. 

The only reason the government has for launching a PR campaign is because over the short term they can't force it through. They are the ones trying to circumvent the laws by not waiting for the court's rulings. 

With this new revelation that the government was requesting legal justification for a yes answer while negotiating with FNs shows bad faith. 

The government's position seems to be that consultations are only on the topic of  how to address concerns not whether or not the pipeline goes through. 

progressive17 progressive17's picture

Well, you only lose money when it comes out of your pocket. If you are failing to make more money, you are not losing money. So there is an error right there. If I have $100, and I did not make $5, I did not lose $5, as I still have the $100. This is simple accounting. But if I had to take $5 out of the $100 and am left with $95, I did lose the $5. So to say that anyone is losing anything because nothing is getting done is simply fraudulent.

I still do not see how we need to have a pipeline to pay for environmental reforms of our part of the planet, energy, economy, etc.

We could make investments in many other things which could very quickly reduce carbon emissions. We could invest in building energy efficiency programs, which would result in lower energy consumption, and hence lower emissions in those jurisdictions which use the most fossil fuels for power. The energy saving returns from those investments could pay for other things.

Forests soak up carbon dioxide well. If there are wastelands and unused agricultural lands, there would be plenty of opportunities to plant trees, which is not expensive.

There is the matter of the many thousands of square kilometers exploited by the forest industry across Canada. These barren lands could be reforested.

The other thing we can do is change human behaviour through taxation to reward virtuous behaviour and punish irresponsible and wasteful behaviour. More punishment for car owners who do not need cars, and more reward for transit users who have chosen to give up the consumptive lifestyle.

More billing of property taxes in terms of actual metres of frontage of roads, hydro lines, water & sewage pipes etc., encouraging people to live in closer-knit places where local amenities such as busses are viable.


 National Observer releases its Trans Mountain files



So Trudeau was being deceitful on Monday in Vancouver?

No real links between pipeline politics and high gas prices



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The Tsleil-Waututh Nation "is of the view that the new evidence, viewed in the larger context of the existing evidence which is already before the Court, casts further unfavorable light on Canada's approach to 'consultation' with TWN," wrote lawyer Scott Smitt in a letter sent to the Federal Court of Appeal on April 29, 2018.



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You want pipelines then you know who to vote for, eh!

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