Opinion: Oh look, Trans Mountain pipe is actually in the ground

Some bad news today for opponents of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

The company posted a photo and information about the first pipe actually being put into the ground on the controversial project.

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The photo shows the pipe being laid in the Greater Edmonton area. Reaction was swift on social media, with most correctly pointing out that there’s a difference because pipe being laid in Alberta compared with British Columbia. In Burnaby, however, work is moving fast with new ship terminals being built at the Westridge site and prep work well underway to add new tanks on Burnaby Mountain.

This pipe comes just as a new poll showed continuing support in B.C. for the Trans Moutain project.

Earlier this month, Research Co. reviewed the feelings of British Columbians on this project and found little change over the past six months.

“We continue to see a majority of the province’s residents (56%) agreeing with the federal government’s decision to reapprove the pipeline expansion, while more than a third (35%) are opposed and 10% are undecided,” wrote Research Co.’s Mario Canseco.

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters rallied on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Monday, Dec. 16
Trans Mountain pipeline protesters rallied on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Monday, Dec. 16, as the Coldwater, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations begin court hearings at the Federal Court of Appeal. Photo Dan Toulgoet

This comes in the same week that the Trans Mountain expansion project was back in court in Vancouver.

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters rallied on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery Monday, Dec. 16, as the Coldwater, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations begin court hearings at the Federal Court of Appeal.

In court, lawyers for the Canadian government say it conducted a new round of consultations with Indigenous groups about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that was reasonable, adequate and fair.

Jan Brongers began arguments on behalf of the federal government Tuesday, asking the Federal Court of Appeal to toss out legal challenges to the government's approval of the project for the second time.

The court has heard from four Indigenous groups in British Columbia that say the government once again failed in its duty to hold meaningful dialogue about the project during consultations conducted between August 2018 and June 2019."

trans mountain westridge
On-water work at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. Screengrab/Trans Mountain

The shortcomings of the earlier process were not repeated and therefore these four applications should be dismissed," Brongers told a three-judge panel in Vancouver.

On Tuesday, Crown lawyer Dayna Anderson disputed allegations lodged by the Tsleil-Waututh that the federal government suppressed and significantly altered scientific information requested by the First Nation.

A lawyer for the Tsleil-Waututh had argued the government withheld its peer review of three expert reports prepared for the nation until after the consultation period closed.

Anderson said the report in question wasn't a peer review at all, but a summary report intended to inform Canada's consultation team so that educated discussions could take place.

The government provided the First Nation with the internal review, even though it had no obligation to do so, and made the author available to the First Nation in a meeting, she said.

"In no way did Canada attempt to suppress or alter scientific information. To the contrary, Canada has been extremely transparent," she said.

  • With files from the Canadian Press

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