September 21st, 2018

Jagmeet Singh: Liberal Government Must Abandon Trans Mountain Expansion

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh issued the following statement:

"The Trudeau government has made it clear again today that it intends to try to force through expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, but still can’t say how it will fulfill its obligation to respect the inherent, treaty and constitutional rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The failure to understand the constitutional duty to consult and accommodate, or to understand the internationally recognized right of free, prior and informed consent was a major factor in the Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling that quashed the proposed expansion.

The Trudeau government likes to repeat ad nauseum that their most important relationship is the nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples. But if that were true, we would see action acknowledging Canada’s legal obligations and would not be waiting for another announcement.

Today’s announcement also failed to produce any credible plan for addressing the Court’s other key criticism: the failure to fully consider the impact on BC’s coastline and marine life, especially Southern Resident Orcas.

Instead, the Trudeau government has announced that it is doubling down on using the same deeply flawed Stephen Harper National Energy Board process that failed the first time, and somehow expects a different result. Additionally, Liberals still have no plan to deal with an inevitable and devastating diluted bitumen oil spill.

Minister Sohi announced he would appoint a technical advisor to address just one aspect of the potential harm for marine life. That cannot possibly satisfy the need to fully understand the potential risk this expansion poses to our coastlines, all marine life, and the industries and workers who depend on a healthy coastline.

Minister Sohi also suggested that the Oceans Protection Plan somehow addresses the very real risk posed by increased tanker traffic. But that Plan is barely up and running and Canadians have very little information about its work.

And despite today’s announcement, Canadians still don’t know if the government plans to appeal the Court’s decision.

Once again, I am calling on the Trudeau government to abandon Trans Mountain expansion, fully overhaul the NEB review process, and finally demonstrate that it respects the sovereignty of Indigenous Peoples."