Pipeline expansion project remains sticking point for B.C. voters
TORONTO -- While Alberta fiercely supports the Trans Mountain Pipeline, those who have to deal with in their backyard worry about its long-term impact.
The pipeline runs through the riding of Burnaby-North Seymour, where dense neighbourhoods are situated right next to it. The pipleine’s expansion would essentially twin the existing 1,150-kilometre pipe from Strathcona County, Alta. to Burnaby, B.C. The project would nearly triple the pipeline’s capacity and would increase tanker traffic.
The expansion leaves residents in Burnaby concerned about safety, spills and property values, however.
“I have three children,” Burnaby resident Tiffani Nixon told CTV News. “I don’t see us being safe living here.”
Fellow Burnaby resident Tara Shushtarian wants to move away from the pipeline out of fear that the project is unsafe, but has doubts about whether she’ll be able to sell.
“We can't sell our home and nor could we morally sell our home and not advise somebody about the danger,” she said.
The pipeline is also a concern for the nearby Tsleil-Waututh Nation, who pledge to fight the project with whatever means necessary.
“The dominant and most important issue is stopping Trans Mountain expansion pipeline,” said Tsleil-Waututh Nation Chief Leah George-Wilson.
The Liberals, Conservatives and People’s Party of Canada will continue with the pipeline expansion if elected. The Green Party, however, would cancel it, while the NDP are against pipeline expansion, but are keeping their options open with regards to the pipeline as a financial asset.
The pipeline isn’t just an issue for voters in the Burnaby region, either. Gerald Baier, a political science professor at the University of British Columbia, suggests British Columbia’s opposition to the project could prove costly to the Liberals, whose government bought it for $4.5 billion last year.
“Four and half billion dollars might buy you a pipeline, but certainly won’t buy you votes in British Columbia,” he said.
The Liberals won 17 of British Columbia’s 42 seats in the 2015 election, up from just two in 2011, but it remains to be seen how the province intends to vote this time around.
“There is that magical possibility that the rest of Canada would have to stay up late to see what happens in B.C.,” Baier said.
With files from The Canadian Press