Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion will go forward, creating a gush of political discourse.
The federal government has said there will be shovels in the ground this September.
The process isn’t happening fast enough, though, for members of the opposition.
Marc Dalton, Conservative candidate for Pitt Meadows-Maple Ridge and a former MLA, noted the current government had said the pipeline would be built by 2019.
“They haven’t built an inch yet,” he added. “It needs to happen, and to happen last year.”
He also said this week’s announcement came as no surprise.
For one, the public supports a pipeline, Dalton said.
“Polling shows, even locally, that [the] majority of British Columbians see the need to get oil out – for all of Canada.”
It was obvious in 2016, when the Liberal government bought the pipeline for $4.5 billion, that it would be trying to move the project ahead, Dalton said.
“We paid taxpayer’s money for a pipeline that was already being paid for.”
Dalton also said the government has drafted Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act, which he calls “a no more pipelines bill,” echoing Alberta Premier Jason Kenny.
The government has also drafted Bill C-48, which would ban oil exports on the northern coast.
“The Liberals have really kneecapped our [oil] industry,” said Dalton.
Dalton defended his party’s environmental plan, which he said promotes a clean environment and green technology.
On climate change, he said Canada needs to work internationally.
Arianne Jaschke, Green Party candidate in the local riding, said the government is contradicting itself in its approach to the environment.
“I was pretty disappointed, seeing that they had declared a climate emergency just the day before,” Jaschke said of the pipeline expansion.
“This is a step backward, instead of a step forward, in our climate crisis.”
She said the government should not be concerned with protecting jobs in industries that harm the environment.
“Look forward to the future, and to jobs that are sustainable for the next 100 or 200 years,” she added.
“There are jobs [in the oil industry] – of course there are. But there are also jobs in renewable energy.”
Liberal MP Dan Ruimy said the Conservatives were in power for more than a decade and “they couldn’t get one pipeline to tidewater.
“They got shot down by the Supreme Court.”
He said the current government has complied with the courts, instead of trying to circumvent the legal process.
“We followed the road map given to us by the federal court of appeal.”
Ruimy expects there will be more litigation, and a B.C. first nation is promising a legal challenge of the pipeline decision.
He said the federal government will reinvest revenue from the project in clean energy and green technology. That includes an estimated $500 million a year in new annual corporate tax revenues once the pipeline is in service. As well, any revenues from the promised sale of the entire expanded pipeline, back to the private sector, will be reinvested in the same.