A few days ago, the Prime Minister’s own Youth Council released a statement chastising the Prime Minister for his decision to buy out the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan.
Stating their “immense disappointment” in the decision, the Youth Council cited concerns over the potential damage to the BC coast, the increased greenhouse gas emissions the pipeline would cause and the rights of Indigenous Peoples to determine what is built or not built on their land.
In light of these concerns, the Council called upon the Prime Minister to cancel the buyout of the Trans Mountain pipeline, promise not to use militarized forces when dealing with protestors, and to hold a special Parler session on the issue with the youth of affected groups.
With all due respect, I disagree. I do not believe that the Prime Minister’s Youth Council speaks for all Canadian youth on this issue and would like to present an opposing point of view.
Simply because the Prime Minister has made a decision with which you personally do not agree does not mean that his commitment to Canadian youth is called into question.
The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline must be built. It is indeed, as the Prime Minister has said, in the “national interest.”
The Youth Councils cries for further consultation are moot. The consultation period has come and gone. Environmental concerns with respect to both the safety of the B.C. coast and the GHG emissions have been heard and taken into consideration. Indigenous Peoples have been consulted with mixed responses; some for and some against.
The result is that through a long and extensive consultation process, one which lasted through two very different governments, the Trans Mountain pipeline has been approved for construction by the National Energy Board.
However, all of this is not to say your concerns are not valid.
I, as well as the vast majority of Canadians, do not want to destroy the beautiful coast of British Columbia, do not want to disrespect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and do not want to continue to burn fossil fuels forever either.
That being said, we need to recognize the reality of the situation. As much as one may be uneasy about sending more oil to the B.C. coast, it is proven that pipelines are still the most effective and safe way to transport oil.
Regardless of your feelings on the matter, the reality is that the oil is coming out of the ground either way. The world is not yet able to run on renewable energy alone. Building the Trans Mountain pipeline is the difference between transporting oil in the safest possible way versus some other less reliable transportation arrangement like a train or a truck.
The answer to building a more sustainable future is not to choke off the oil industry via government intervention but rather to focus on the cleanest forms of fossils fuels we have available. For proof on how effective this can be, check out these stats on the U.S.’s efforts to reduce GHG emissions.
In addition to this approach, the societal will is certainly there in Canada to “go green” and reduce our carbon footprint. This provides the free market with a demand that needs to be supplied. As more and more environmentally conscious young people grow up and begin to participate in everyday commerce, this demand will only continue to grow which in turn will fuel increased competition in the cleantech industry.
As mentioned above, in regards to the say Indigenous Peoples have in the matter, one has to recognize that not all Indigenous Peoples feel the same way on this issue. Some are against any resource development on their lands (often concerned about their water) whereas others are big supporters of pipelines due to the prosperity and jobs they bring.
As you can see, this is complex issue with many factors for the Prime Minister to consider before making a decision. However, in order to “choose a path of fiscal prudence, social and cultural healing, and sustainable growth for Canada,” the Prime Minister has to move forward with the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
It is fiscally prudent to extract our resources and move them to market. It is respectful to the wishes of Indigenous Peoples to amply consult with them and, given the mixed responses, make a decision that is (in the PM’s opinion) in their best interest. It is paramount to the sustainable growth of Canada that we utilize the oil we have to support the wealth of products it produces that enhance our everyday life.
It’s disappointing that the Prime Minister squandered this chance to have a common sense energy development sustainably built by a private corporation here in Canada. Now, because of his wishy-washiness and unsurety on this file, taxpayers are on the hook to make sure Kinder Morgan gets built.
However, now is not the time for pro pipeline Canadians of any age to play the victim.
Canadians must hold the Prime Minister to his promise to get the Kinder Morgan pipeline built. He knows the facts, he knows it makes sense and he knows it truly is in the national interest.
The time for consultation has passed. It cannot afford to be delayed by its opponents anymore. The time for action is now.
The Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline must be built.