I know many of you are concerned about the impacts of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
My NDP colleagues and I strongly oppose this project because it is neither in the best interests of Canadians, nor does it meet the criteria of what constitutes sustainable development. There are significant environmental concerns, including damage related to the construction of the pipeline, as well as from potential oil spills along the pipeline and from oil tankers navigating the hazardous waters on the northwest coast of British Columbia. Spills of this nature would jeopardize the fishing and tourism industries in BC putting tens of thousands of livelihoods and the stability of those communities at risk. The wild salmon economy alone generates $1.7 billion each year in BC. The Conservative government is playing fast and loose with BCs economy and ecosystems.
The pipeline would contribute to the rapid and unchecked expansion of Canada’s oil sands that the current government has permitted without any regard for economic sustainability, or the effects of this unchecked development on greenhouse gas emissions and the resulting climate change.
Development of the oil sands should take place within the context of a coherent and credible national energy strategy that will be good for the Canadian economy and good for our environment, one that has a transition to green energy and renewable technologies at its core. It is unacceptable that this Conservative government chases one raw bitumen pipeline project after another that serves only corporate profit interests to the detriment of our national interests.
I believe that the environmental assessment process must include the voices of all Canadians who have a stake in outcome, from first nations to local residents, from small business to industry. To declare opponents to a project “radicals” or try to slander them as representing foreign interests is anti-democratic. It is hypocritical that Mr. Harper considers foreign oil interests his friends while branding people who care about our environment as enemies.
It is particularly concerning the level of disrespect this government has show towards the First Nations whose traditional territory this pipeline would cross. Instead of defending the rights of the First Nations, which have been affirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada, the government has chosen instead to damage the development of healthy and fair relationships with the first peoples of Canada.
I’ll continue to speak out and oppose the government’s moves to abrogate its duty for decisions made to uphold the public interest, not private interests.
If you would like to read more about my concerns about the Northern Gateway pipeline, check out my speeches in Parliament on the issue: