Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters and passersby listen to a speech outside the Canada Revenue Agency office entrance on Johnson Street near Vancouver Street Monday morning. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Kinder Morgan pipeline protesters and passersby listen to a speech outside the Canada Revenue Agency office entrance on Johnson Street near Vancouver Street Monday morning. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

LETTER: PM sets dangerous precedent with pipeline

Alberta and Ottawa are on the wrong side of the Trans Mountain debate, Cindy McCallum Miller argues

I was appalled to hear the prime minister intends to provide a Texas extraction company with billions of tax dollars to foist their dirty pipeline on a reluctant province.

First of all, the Trudeau government has no such mandate. This government pledged to be proactive in the fight against climate change and to engage in reconciliation with First Nations. However, it is turning its back on those commitments in favour of a dying industry’s attempt to profit one more time at our expense.

If the federal government wants to support Alberta’s energy sector, it should invest in green energy initiatives in that province, not assume the financial risks of a foreign company. Instead of being proactive, Justin Trudeau is thumbing his nose at First Nations and those of us who object to being used as pawns in a losing game. No one from either Alberta nor Ottawa has been able to provide any verifiable reassurances about how to clean up a bitumen spill because, the truth is, they can’t. So Rachel Notley, Trudeau and Kinder Morgan are ganging up to bully BC into submission, instead of accepting the fact that our resistance is justified.

This is a dangerous precedent being set by the prime minister. Once he opens the tax vault to one foreign company, you can bet more will line up demanding their share, using NAFTA or the TPP as their justification.

Protecting the environment is not just some sort of altruistic gesture. You can’t eat or drink bitumen. Creatures (in our food chain) who live in coastline waters can’t survive in the midst of a spill so our fisheries and shellfish industries are at risk. Coastal communities who rely on tourism will have nothing to offer if their landscape gets covered in blobs of tarry black goop from a spill. And it isn’t a matter of if there will be a spill, but when, because many unreported leaks are already taking place regularly from existing pipelines and the dramatic increase of tanker traffic will inevitably lead to some sort of disaster that taxpayers will again have to pay for.

I stand in solidarity with Grand Chief Stewart Phillip and indigenous leaders who are demanding that this project not take place. I applaud Premier John Horgan’s position to defend our coast and the land this pipeline intends to cross. I do not consent to any of my tax dollars being diverted to Kinder Morgan or any other extraction company now or in the future. It is time to find other solutions and not just plod along a narrow and destructive path to environmental degradation.

Cindy McCallum Miller

Castlegar