Tsleil-Waututh Questions Absence of Pipelines on Liberal Debate Agenda

Nation calls on all leaders to clarify position on Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal

VANCOUVER, Jan. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Tsleil-Waututh Nation is calling on Liberal Party of Canada leadership candidates to make clear their positions on Kinder Morgan's pipeline proposal and for the party to add the issue of crude oil transportation from the Alberta oil sands to its debate agenda. During the party's leadership debate held in Vancouver on Sunday, the issue of pipeline development to B.C.'s coast was avoided.

"If pipeline development isn't on the agenda when the party meets in B.C., where we bear all the risks from increased oil tanker traffic, then when will it be?" asks Chief Justin George, Tsleil-Waututh Nation. "We need to know where these candidates stand on the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal."

Prior to the debates Liberal leadership candidates had expressed a variety of positions on pipelines. While most support continued oil sands development, some have stated opposition to Enbridge's Northern Gateway proposal, and have mentioned alternatives for shipping crude oil to B.C.'s coast. Of the nine candidates, only Joyce Murray has made a clear statement of opposition to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain proposal.

"It's not enough to just oppose Enbridge Northern Gateway when Kinder Morgan has even bigger plans for shipping bitumen through this province," continues George. "The candidates talk of an alternative to Northern Gateway, but exactly what is the alternative? Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline? Shipping oil to the east? We need to know what they mean."

Tsleil-Waututh Nation is also gravely concerned about the Conservative government's gutting of environmental laws under Bills C-38 and C-45. These changes impact the way environmental assessment will happen on the Kinder Morgan pipeline proposal, so it is critical for the country's leaders to have a clear position on the proposal.

To date, leaders and their parties have expressed the following regarding the pipeline:

  • Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has stated that the Conservative's amendments to the environmental review process have rendered it meaningless, and in the absence of a credible assessment process the pipelines should not even be discussed. Still, he has not yet announced his party's position on Kinder Morgan's proposal.
  • Provincial NDP leader Adrian Dix is also yet to confirm his party's position on the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
  • Christy Clark and the provincial Liberal Party have announced that they have five conditions that must be met before new pipeline infrastructure is considered, but this has not led to a statement of position on Kinder Morgan's plans.
  • The Vancouver, B.C., and federal Green parties have been unified in their opposition to both Kinder Morgan and Enbridge.
  • The Harper Conservative Party is in favour of pipeline development.

"It's no surprise where the Harper Conservatives stand, but it's time for the federal Liberal leadership candidates and the federal and provincial NDP to take a position on Kinder Morgan's pipeline," says Carleen Thomas, elected Concillor, Tsleil-Waututh Nation. "Otherwise, there will be an oil tanker a day entering the Burrard Inlet, putting the Inlet, the Salish Sea and the way of life of people in B.C. at risk."

As the Nation at the terminus of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, Tsleil-Waututh is adamantly opposed to the company's proposal to build a new pipeline to bring crude oil/bitumen to foreign markets through Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea. The proposal would see the transport of crude oil expanded from its present level of approximately 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day. The Nation has experienced the results of crude oil handling and refining on Burrard Inlet for a number of decades. The Nation is expecting government-to-government consultation on this project.

About Tsleil-Waututh Nation

Tsleil-Waututh Nation is a progressive and vibrant Coast Salish community of approximately 500 members located along the shores of Burrard Inlet in North Vancouver, B.C., Canada. For more information please visit www.twnation.ca.

SOURCE: Tsleil-Waututh Nation

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