There are manifold issues around the building of the Trans Mountain pipeline through B.C., but there is one that doesn’t seem to get discussed much.
Whose province is this? The federal government may have jurisdiction over certain areas, though when it comes to expensive ongoing items like health care and education, the feds aren’t all that involved. But the pipeline promises to pour quite a few dollars into federal coffers.
Alberta, of course, has no business forcing anything on B.C., though they stand to profit mightily from the pipeline.
This isn’t a question of whether a pipeline is a good or bad thing. The bitumen is going to pass through B.C. one way or another, as it is now, making its way to our ports for sale to the world market, and making rich multinational oil companies even richer, along with the Alberta and federal governments.
With the current B.C. government attempting to block the pipeline, the other parties involved have moved on to threats and intimidation: blocking transfer payments, boycotting wine and so on.
Wouldn’t it be better if all parties sat down instead and negotiated a deal that included B.C. as an equal partner? This province bears the greatest risk of environmental damage, on land and in our coastal waters, while realizing the least profit from the pipeline.
There is also the question of keeping profit in Canada. Instead of allowing this oil to be shipped overseas to be refined elsewhere, why not insist that it be refined in this province first at a new refinery, as B.C. businessman David Black (also the owner of this paper) has advocated for.
Shipping lighter fuel products would reduce the risk of environmental damage as well as keeping more jobs, and profit, in province.
But regardless of whether you are pro-pipeline or a protestor, moving forward because of threats and intimidation from other governments is no way to work.