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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

BC and Alberta working together for a project that will benefit the West is paramount. With todays NEB approval, the time for enhanced, sustainable projects to benefit our tattered resource sector is upon us

The National Energy Board (NEB) today delivered its Reconsideration Report to the Government of Canada, with an overall recommendation that the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (Project) is in the Canadian public interest and should be approved.

Upon hearing this news, North Okanagan – Shuswap MP Mel Arnold was quick to respond, stating … “The NEB has ruled that this project is in the 'public interest'. Let's get some shovels in the ground”.

And getting those shovels quickly in the ground will indeed be important, according to Ft. St. John City Councillor Trevor Bolin.

The construction season in Alberta and central BC is short enough without further delays from the Federal Government.  This pipeline is in the best interest of Canadians, and more specifically, Western Canadians.”

He went on to say, “British Columbia and Alberta working together for a project that will benefit the West is paramount.  The time for enhanced, sustainable projects to benefit our tattered resource sector is upon us... and we as proud Canadians need to encourage our governments to stand behind Canada and her people uniting us as one”.

Hold on a minute though!

This morning’s announcement by the Energy Board retains the original 156 conditions to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Project -- if it is approved by government – but it has now made 16 additional recommendations to the federal government.

Recommendations which the NEB itself has indicated relate to matters that fall outside of the NEB’s regulatory mandate.

SO, if these 16 new recommendations fall outside their jurisdiction, then by what authority do the have to even bring them up?  Does that mean that the government can impose their own recommendations on the NEB … or that Canada Post should be able to direct Fisheries and Oceans on how their decisions should be made … Justice Canada advise Health Canada?

Or … that the PMO’s office should advise and make recommendations to the Attorney General’s Office?  Oh, wait a minute – some are saying that’s exactly what happened so maybe this does make sense.

Maybe, maybe not.

As Trevor Bolin commented to me, what matters is that, “The final decision now lays with the Prime Minister and his cabinet.  With recent scandals, investigations and reviews I am in hopes, this does not get put on the back burner.”

A VERY small portion of pipe waiting in Kamloops for
construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline to begin
Some however are already wondering, additional delays on the project.  That includes the Conservative MP for Kamloops - Thompson – Cariboo, Cathy McLeod:

There is still no timeline for when consultations with First Nations will conclude, or when a final decision on the project will be made.”

Seeking further comment from Cathy McLeod on this, a spokesperson indicated that … Mrs. McLeod believes that the Liberals are trying to run out the clock to protect seats for the 2019 election.

And rumour does have it that this could end up being delayed until sometime in the late Fall, so as to continue 'consultations' with First Nations' people on the project.

Many, myself included, would wonder then why we were led to believe this latest round of NEB consultations was to finally settle the matter once and for all. 

John Twigg, a veteran journalist and communications consultant however reminded me that, There were never any consultations with natives (Squamish) in North Van and other First Nations on the tanker route out to Juan de Fuca Strait. 

Regardless, one definite possibility certainly stands out, and that is the timing and date of the next federal election – it takes place on October 21st.

Insincere as they might be, further consultations with environmental people and First Nations communities, by Justin Trudeau may give these parties the hope he’ll scuttle the project once and for all. 

AND that will be vitally important given he will once again need the votes of environmentalists that he brought over in the last election from the Green Party … and especially from the NDP.  And in that vein, John Twigg reminded me that former NDP MP, and now Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart was on CKNW vowing to resist it, claiming it will hurt Vancouver's "brand".  

Twigg’s comment to that however was simple?  Nonsense.”

Rick Peterson, founder of Suits and Boots, is taking a more optimistic approach however, it seems:

You can bet that the government wants desperately to get shovels in the ground before the end of the summer, and the federal election campaign is in full swing. The key now is completing the consultations with the First Nations communities.”

“Given how the courts ruled that previous efforts in that area were poorly done, you can bet they will be doing everything they can to not step on the same rakes

Mr. Peterson concluded, “Bottom line?  There will be a green light and shovels in the ground by September. Politically it’s huge for the Liberals, and it appears that the groundwork is being set up for that with today’s decision.”

That said, it has taken a good many years to build create the groundwork so that the pipeline can finally be constructed on it.  Remember after all that it was in December of 2013 that Trans Mountain initially made its application to the National Energy Board, for expansion and twinning of the pipeline.  Then on November 29, 2016, the Government of Canada granted approval for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the Project).

Following that of course were numerous roadblocks, including new ones by the provincial NDP government, which have been deliberately put in place to block the expansion … as well as this latest round of NEB hearings to once again decide if the project should go ahead.

Today’s latest approval should finally see things proceed, but if not, and there are further delays that push things past the October 21st federal election, MP Cathy McLeod affirmed that “… an Andrew Scheer government will scrap the ‘no more pipelines’ Bill C-69 and stand up for Canada’s energy sector with the leadership needed to help energy workers and their families get ahead.”.

Let’s hope, as others have said, we can indeed quickly get shovels in the ground, because as Ft. St. John councillor Trevor Bolin stated, “Our neighbours to the east, and communities that will share in the benefits of the project, have waited long enough”.

In Kamloops, I’m Alan Forseth, and I am very much interested in hearing what your thoughts are on this topic.  Please take a moment to write them down in the Comments Section directly below this blog post.


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