Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, meets with Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart in Vancouver, on Thursday November 1, 2018. Vancouver’s incoming mayor says a revamped National Energy Board review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is likely doomed to fail and will land the federal government back in a courtroom. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

New Trans Mountain pipeline review doomed to fail: Vancouver mayor-elect

Stewart, formerly the New Democrat MP for Burnaby South, was among a group of protesters who were arrested in March while blocking Trans Mountain’s main gate

Vancouver’s incoming mayor says a revamped National Energy Board review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is likely doomed to fail and will land the federal government back in a courtroom.

The energy board is reviewing the project’s impacts on the marine environment and Kennedy Stewart says it’s too rushed, including a week-long window for Indigenous groups and others to apply to participate.

“I do think the revamped NEB process we’re going through probably is going to fail again. I don’t think giving First Nations a week to submit to a brand new reconciliation process is enough time and that’ll be challenged in court again and rightly so,” he said in an interview.

“I could see this being deadlocked like the Mackenzie Valley pipeline for many, many, many years,” he added, referring to a proposed natural gas line through the Northwest Territories that was stalled for decades.

Stewart, formerly the New Democrat MP for Burnaby South, was among a group of protesters who were arrested in March while blocking Trans Mountain’s main gate, violating a court order to stay five metres from company work sites. He pleaded guilty to contempt of court and paid a $500 fine.

After winning Vancouver’s mayoral race by fewer than 1,000 votes, he will be sworn in on Monday.

READ MORE: National Energy Board wants to hear your thoughts on Trans Mountain pipeline

His opinion on the pipeline expansion hasn’t changed, he said, and he will continue to back the city’s practice of supporting local Indigenous groups in their court challenges by applying to be an intervener.

The Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations have traditional territories in the Vancouver area and both have said the new process is repeating the same mistakes and laying the groundwork for a new court challenge.

The Federal Court of Appeal struck down the federal government’s approval of the project in August due to inadequate Indigenous consultation and the energy board’s failure to review impacts on the marine environment.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which has purchased the existing Trans Mountain line and expansion project for $4.5 billion, tasked the energy board with reviewing marine environment impacts and submitting a report by Feb. 22.

Energy board spokesman James Stevenson declined comment on Stewart’s remarks but has said previously that the revamped review will be a comprehensive scientific and technical examination of project-related marine shipping.

Stewart said Trudeau was the one who brought up Trans Mountain during their first meeting Thursday since Stewart’s election win.

“I said, ‘First of all, it’s been a weird year. I was arrested, then I resigned as MP and now I’m mayor, within a period of about six months.’ But my position on that was clear. I’m still very much opposed to this pipeline,” he said.

“However, I understand my role has changed. Perhaps where my mandate as MP in Burnaby was to stop the pipeline as a top priority, the voters of this city have said your priority is to fix our housing problem.”

The pipeline expansion would triple the amount of oil being carried from the Edmonton area to a marine shipping terminal in Burnaby, increasing the number of tankers in Metro Vancouver waters seven-fold.

Stewart also said he told Trudeau that if the city takes any action against the project, he will call first to inform him.

Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley have said the project is in the national interest because Alberta needs to get its oil to markets outside the U.S. where it can fetch higher prices, particularly in Asia.

But Stewart said it’s ridiculous that Canada exports oil in the west while importing oil in the east. The country should have a national energy strategy that involves refining products in Canada, particularly in the eastern part of the country, he said.

“What ultimately would be the best thing to do is to ship Alberta oil east, make sure there’s guaranteed supplies for existing or new refineries, so Canadians are using Canadian oil,” he said.

Trudeau addressed the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade before his meeting with Stewart on Thursday. The prime minister said the court’s decision laid out a road map for his government to proceed with the project.

After meeting with Stewart, Trudeau said they agreed to make housing and infrastructure top priorities while diverging on the pipeline expansion.

“Obviously there’s issues like TMX where we’re going to disagree, but there’s also an awful lot for us to work on together.”

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Transitioning back into the world

Courtenay man had been living outdoors before starting Sally Ann program

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

Comox Valley Santa’s Workshop in need of bicycles for youngsters, gifts for teens

Santa’s Workshop, at 464 Puntledge Road (formerly the Red Cross building), is… Continue reading

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Liquor store robbery suspect arrested

The Comox Valley RCMP have identified the suspect in relation to the… Continue reading

The fair with 1,000 stories

Tibetan carpets, Ugandan bags and scarves from the Peruvian Andes were among… Continue reading

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Mid Island Farmers Institute discusses fleece at November meeting

Are you a lover of wool and local fibre? Interested in raising… Continue reading

Comox Valley Nature invites the public to learn about nature photography

Comox Valley Nature is hosting a public lecture on photography. Join Terry… Continue reading

The fair with 1,000 stories

Tibetan carpets, Ugandan bags and scarves from the Peruvian Andes were among… Continue reading

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Most Read