May 3, 2018
As your MP it is my responsibility to make sure your voice is heard in Ottawa. I did just that from 2013 through to fall 2016 by making sure the government was clear about the nature and extent of Vancouver Quadra constituent concerns about the risks posed by TMX. I spoke at public rallies while in Opposition, and after the 2015 election, organized many meetings to provide your input to ministers, including the Prime Minister. In fall 2016 I wrote a paper outlining these key concerns, and presented it to all ministers and Liberal members of parliament.
After the Natural Resources Minister’s Panel had conducted further consultations and analysis on the TMX project and reported out, government decided to approve the TMX project in November 2016, subject to 157 conditions. While I publically expressed my profound disappointment at this decision, I chose to respect Cabinet`s right to approve the project. In April I met with Minister Morneau, and also with his key Finance staff, to voice constituent concerns about using taxpayer money to subsidize the TMX pipeline project or its owner.
Cabinet`s initial project approval process considered your legitimate concerns related to increased tanker traffic, spill risk and greenhouse gas emissions, yet they determined that on balance the project still serves the national interest. In response to your concerns the government committed to addressing the risks you identified with a range of targeted investments and regulation change.
You are right to ask, “what is the national interest, in this situation?” In my view, jobs and economic matters aside, the national interest is served by Canada achieving agreement on a framework for action, by all provinces and territories, to reduce national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the level required to limit climate warming to 1.5 to 2°C.
As the Prime Minister explained in recent Town Halls, the government’s first commitment is to its national Climate Plan to meet our Paris targets for GHG reduction. Alberta is the largest source of Canada’s emissions, so Alberta’s cooperation was essential to creating Canada’s Climate Plan. Alberta’s cooperation was also necessary to ensure other provinces and territories signed on. More importantly, Alberta’s GHG reduction measures – capping total emissions growth at a level far below previous oil sand expansion targets, increasing its carbon tax, regulating methane emissions, and agreeing to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2025 – are critical to Canada achieving our national GHG reduction targets. Alberta’s cooperation however was conditional on federal support for getting their resources to Asian markets to permit a better market price, which in turn will help bridge Alberta`s cost of transition to a clean energy economy.
The federal government will continue to put further measures in place to ensure that Canada meets its Paris targets. I personally led an initiative to green government operations, to achieve 40% reduction of GHG emissions from the federal fleet, buildings and other activities by 2030, and 80% reduction by 2050. We are addressing ecosystem risks related to existing and future transport of bitumen through a $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan, with measures for preventing spills, and better protecting and restoring vulnerable species and habitats. The government has tabled legislation to restore Fisheries Act protections stripped away by the previous government, eliminate the problematic National Energy Board, and strengthen environmental impact assessments through a new Impact Assessment Agency of Canada. We are radically expanding protected areas on land and at sea.
I understand and respect that you and others remain opposed to the Kinder Morgan TMX Project. I will continue to voice your concerns in Ottawa, and will always champion further measures to reduce or eliminate climate and developments risks to our land, atmosphere, coastal and ocean ecosystems, and to build a more sustainable local and national economy.
Joyce Murray MP