Ontario’s new opposition leader tells Vancouver crowd Trans Mountain pipeline should be halted

Ontario’s new Opposition leader told a rally in Richmond, British Columbia, on Wednesday that construction on Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion should be halted.

B.C. New Democrat Jagmeet Singh, whose party won a majority of seats on election day, opened his provincial tour by rallying supporters in a rural town near Vancouver. He blamed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for allowing environmental harm to occur.

Singh told the roughly 200 attendees that Kinder Morgan was in violation of agreements it had made to Indigenous groups and for the “increase in Kinder Morgan’s tanker traffic impacting B.C.’s coast.”

“British Columbians cannot sit idly by and allow such destruction to occur,” he said.

Singh told his supporters that the Canadian government made “bad decisions and bad investments” — as in the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.

On Saturday, after voters expressed overwhelming opposition to his plan to turn Canada’s Liberal Party in his direction, Trudeau announced that he would not push through the controversial pipeline expansion in its current form. Instead, he announced that it would be a “high-stakes test” of whether provincial and municipal governments can have a say in the “direction of projects that affect a province, region or country.”

“The project must serve the best interests of Canadians and the economy,” Trudeau said. “It cannot serve one or the other.”

On Wednesday, Singh said that the project should be cancelled.

But, he said, the federal government should give Indigenous peoples a chance to regain the project’s trust.

“The federal government must listen to the promises that were made,” he said. “It must listen to our peoples’ voices, just as they listened to our voices in the election and walked away. We know that our people can better protect the environment and live in harmony with the land than any company. We know that our Nations deserve a voice in how this pipeline is executed. That’s why this pipeline must be stopped. But our governments must first listen to our peoples’ voice, because they cannot avoid the decisions.”

As The Washington Post’s editorial board wrote on Tuesday, all British Columbians support a “strong, responsible national energy strategy, including the Trans Mountain pipeline.”

“British Columbians want pipelines. But unlike many Western Canadians, they want the pipeline to be a win-win situation — one that benefits both the province and Canada,” the board wrote. “Whether pipelines are good or bad for Canada is a question of national policy and not much else. Ms. Notley should move with dispatch to ensure that Trans Mountain is built, and will remain built, on Canada’s terms.”

Author information: Rubenstein is a National correspondent for The Washington Post.

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