Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Conservatives for putting this motion forward, because this is a debate that we are not having in the House of Commons. Nothing proves the theory of the Ottawa bubble more than our discussions about the Trans Mountain pipeline. We hear rhetoric, basically concerns about a line on a map, that does not look at the communities that are affected, so I invite the House to think about this project from the ground up rather than from Ottawa down.
This proposed project is 980 kilometres of new pipeline, much of which would go along another route, although the company has tried to disguise this and calls it “twinning”. It is new pipeline that would cross under the Fraser River and is a completely new route through Burnaby. This is a new pipeline. It carries bitumen, not for local use but for export, and the export is mostly to the United States. China has said over and over again that it cannot process this product. The only refineries that can handle this are in Texas.
The current TMX pipeline exports about 25% of what comes down the pipe. Where does it go? It all goes to California. There is so much rhetoric that is hard to counter because the pipeline companies and their consortiums put out false information.
There is something that trumps flashy commercials on television, and that is our Constitution that is also the law of our land. In British Columbia, although it seems beyond notice here, almost all of the territory in British Columbia is unceded. There are no treaties in British Columbia, so that makes negotiations with first nations very different. Although we hear lots of rhetoric about how many first nations have been consulted and how many have agreements, it only takes one nation to stop this pipeline.
This pipeline goes through about 80 different territories, and there are overlapping claims, but not all nations and people within the territories have signed off on this pipeline, not by a long shot. This pipeline also goes through first nations reserves. These are the last places for many first nations territories that were almost obliterated by colonialism, so there is a lot of anger and a sense of betrayal. When this pipeline was first built in the 1950s, first nations people could not vote or hire lawyers. The reason the pipeline was put through reserves in the first place was because it was the easiest place to put it. We can imagine having a pipeline put through our backyards without being able to hire a lawyer or participate in the process to get it built. There is a lot of residual anger over this, and I feel it is warranted.
The existing pipeline that goes through first nations reserves and territories, as well as many municipalities, has leaked a great deal. On the company's own website, we can see that 40,000 barrels have already leaked out of the existing pipeline. There was a very big spill in my community in 2007, and all along the route, if anyone would care to look, which no one usually does. This pipeline has already leaked. Therefore, we know the new pipeline will also leak, as they do all over the place. There is concern. These are not a bunch of hippies saying they do not want a pipeline; these people are concerned about their community.
I see how this project is going to go. In 2014, there were thousands of people on Burnaby Mountain when Kinder Morgan went into a conservation area without permission. These people placed their bodies in such a way as to prevent any future work. There were 125 people arrested. Gary Mason, from The Globe and Mail, likes to call these people professional protesters, but it shows that he is also out of touch. I was on the mountain. I went there 10 times. I crossed police lines to make sure that people were safe.
The people crossing the lines were local property owners, school teachers, university professors, hairdressers, regular people. The debate here has tried to taint normal people, people with property rights. In other cases, I am sure the Conservatives would fight for them, but, in this case, they seem keen to ram this project through. I am pleading with the House to look at it from the perspective of the people in the communities through which this pipeline would pass and to not believe what the companies are telling them.
The day after I was elected in 2011, I was called by Kinder Morgan. I have met with the company four times. I told them that I did not think the pipeline would ever get built. They walked me through the plan. I also said not only would the pipeline not get built, they would have to clean up the existing pipeline which leaks so much.
The current buzz in the media is the fight between Alberta and British Columbia, or really between Canada and British Columbia. British Columbia has said it is going to study the effects of bitumen, and well it should. I spoke to the environment minister. He is very well aware of the Royal Society of Canada report from 2014, which has many questions about the properties of bitumen. The natural resources minister has been wheeling out one scientist who has non peer-reviewed research that says it floats in certain conditions, but this is the Royal Society, which I think had about 30 prominent scientists on its panel. This is not a science-driven approach to pipeline building, because they are ignoring the Royal Society report.
There are many things wrong with how this pipeline has been approved and what people in the House are saying will occur if it is built.
The Province of British Columbia is right to conduct these studies and hearings, and it is right to protect its constitutional jurisdiction. That is what all provincial governments should do. However, I am afraid of the rhetoric in the House and in the media.
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for New Westminster—Burnaby.
I am very concerned about something that no one in the House is talking about. That is what I saw in 2014 on Burnaby Mountain. I have evidence that I would be happy to table in the House, polling information and other information. People who are opposed to this pipeline do not believe in the process anymore. They have written their petitions. They have sent their letters. They have marched in their protests. They say that no one is protecting their interests. Where does this take us? It takes us to a very familiar route in British Columbia, which is civil disobedience. This makes me very nervous. It keeps me up at night. I think it is not being looked at seriously in the House of Commons.
We have a lot of rhetoric from this side, and that is why I asked the minister if he is prepared to back up his previous statement and say he is prepared to use the defence forces and police forces in order to push the pipeline through British Columbia. I plead with him, I plead with the government, not to consider this.
Since being elected in 2011, I have talked to all sides. I have talked to CAPP, Kinder Morgan, all pipeline companies, provincial ministers, both Liberal and New Democrats. I feel that this part of the debate is being left aside and we are in a bit of a denial as to what would occur. What does it look like when we put a new pipeline, carrying 600,000 barrels a day over 980 kilometres, through communities that do not want it?
The minister, I think flippantly, boastfully, and with arrogance, said at a meeting that he would be prepared to use defence and police forces in order to push this through. However, we should think about what that would look like. We have reserve land where they do not want the pipeline. If we put bulldozers in, we are putting the workers in danger.
The minister said that we will use the military to make sure the pipeline gets built. It is irresponsible. No one here is talking about that, and they need to. A core part of this debate has to be about section 2 of the Emergencies Act and whether either side of the House is purporting that we use that. This is probably one of the most serious decisions we have to make in this Parliament.
I thank the Conservatives for bringing the motion forward, even though I do not agree with it and I will be voting against it. However, we need to have this debate, and the government has to make its intentions clear.