Pipeline politics

In November 2016, a common media headline was “Trudeau kills Northern Gateway pipeline” after the PM announced his government would not continue with the project.

The announcement to kill the Northern Gateway project also honoured an election commitment from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had previously stated that “the Great Bear Rain Forest was no place for a pipeline.”

The decision to kill the Northern Gateway pipeline project was also politically popular with many who had supported the Prime Minister in the 2015 election.

As many will know, the Prime Minister also announced that he would support and approve the Trans-Mountain pipeline project, a decision that outraged many of those who celebrated the demise of Northern Gateway.

Pipeline politics are indeed very much part of our democratic process as evidenced by the opposition to the Trans-Mountain pipeline from B.C. Premier John Horgan and his NDP government, He promised to use “every tool in the tool box “to try and stop it.

Why does this matter?

Because pipeline politics are also popular with certain politicians south of our Canada/United States border.

Many will know that U.S. President Joe Biden, shortly after occupying the Oval Office, used the power of the presidential veto to officially end the Keystone XL pipeline project.

The Keystone XL pipeline was proposed to connect Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Neb., over 1,947-kilometres to transport Canadian crude oil to U.S. refineries.

Keystone XL is not the only pipeline being targeted by United States politicians.

The Line 5 pipeline, built in 1953, runs from Superior, Wis., and feeds oil refineries in Sarnia, Ont.

Line 5 also carries natural gas and is considered a critical supply source of oil and gas to the Ontario and Quebec economies.

The challenge is a portion of Line 5 runs underwater where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron at depths between 100 and 270 feet in the Straits of Mackinac.

The risk for environmental damage related to a potential spill of a pipeline that carries up to 540,000 barrels a day of oil and natural gas liquids has resulted in Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer to order the revocation of the pipeline easement and that it be shut down.

Enbridge, the owner and operator of this pipeline, is exploring legal options as well as mediation to avoid the shut down that is set to come into effect next week.

This possible pipeline shutdown has also created considerable political tension. The Trudeau Liberal government is said to be using all diplomatic channels in Washington and with President Biden to prevent the pipeline from being shut down.

I strongly support pipeline projects, however, this issue raises a question to those who oppose pipelines, that is seldom asked:

  • Considering PM Trudeau politically killed the Northern Gateway pipeline, much as President Biden did for Keystone XL, both citing risk and environmental reasons, why is Governor Gretchen Whitmer not entitled to follow their lead?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

MP Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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