Madam Speaker, I would like to commend my colleague from Burnaby South for his sterling work in listening to his constituents and learning about the issues surrounding the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
August 20, 2015, was the genesis of the motion we are seeing today. I support the fact that it was brought forward. We are going to oppose this motion for reasons my colleague from Burnaby South spelled out.
On August 20, 2015, the Prime Minister came to British Columbia, and in front of a crowd in Esquimalt, said very clearly that Kinder Morgan would not be approved unless the entire process was redone. That was a solemn commitment he made to British Columbians on August 20, 2015, a few weeks prior to the election date, and that is the genesis of the problem we have before us today.
The Liberals and the Prime Minister have taken Mr. Harper's incredible gutting of environmental regulations and the NEB process and are making that discredited process, a process that does not involve Canadians, does not involve British Columbians, their own. In other words, the Prime Minister promised to redo the whole process and put in place something that would actually mean legitimate consultation with British Columbians, but he did the exact opposite. It is absolutely shameful.
The Liberals have compounded this, as my colleague for Burnaby South just mentioned, by threatening military action in British Columbia. We have an illegitimate process, one the Liberals promised to change. They did not change it. Instead, they approved the pipeline, which the Prime Minister said very clearly they would not. On top of that, they threatened British Columbians. It is because of that badly broken, gutted promise made solemnly to British Columbians, just a few weeks prior to the election date, that so many British Columbians have come out in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline. We have first nations that have come out in opposition. The City of Burnaby, which I and my colleague from Burnaby South represent, has come out strongly opposed, as have municipalities throughout the coastal region.
Why have they come out in opposition? It is not just that the process is illegitimate, that Mr. Harper's Conservative government gutted the whole process and made it illegitimate in anyone's eyes, and that the Liberals promised to do one thing and are doing the exact opposite. It is also because of the impact on the coast, which could be catastrophic.
I grew up in New Westminster, and I am proud of growing up in the Lower Mainland. Four generations of my family have lived in that area. My grandfather came from Norway and fished on the coast for a number of years.
The fishing and tourism industries have a profound impact on our economy in British Columbia. We are talking about impacts the Liberals have never investigated or looked at, an illegitimate process, and the potential loss of billions of dollars if there is just one spill. That is why so many communities have come out in opposition to this project. It is why so many communities have said that, ultimately, without a legitimate process, this is simply something that has no credibility.
My colleague for Burnaby South talked about the impact on the Fraser River. I would like to mention the Brunette River area, where I walk my dogs every morning. It is an area that could be profoundly impacted by the new route that is being pushed through. There were no consultations. The City of New Westminster was not able to come forward with its concerns. This is habitat that has been restored through decades of work by people who are involved in the Sapperton Fish and Game Club and other community organizations. They restored the habitat, and now we have Kinder Morgan, with the approval of the Liberal government, putting at risk the Brunette River as well. These are profound risks that have not been investigated through a legitimate process.
I should mention, being one of the few people in this House of Commons who has been ankle deep in oil, having worked in the Shellburn oil refinery and the Burnaby tank farm, that I know how serious the environmental impacts can be. I know how difficult it is to clean up even a small spill. I can say with some assurance that the incredible irresponsibility with which the Liberals have approached this whole process, not just by betraying British Columbians by breaking their promise but by refusing to put in place any sort of public consultation process, is something that has alienated many British Columbians.
My colleague referenced the Royal Society report. The Royal Society report is something that every single Liberal MP, not just those from British Columbia, should be reading, because it speaks repeatedly to the fact that we do not know the impact on the Salish Sea or the B.C. coast of a spill of bitumen. We have no idea. The Royal Society repeatedly requests that high priority, urgent research be done in all these areas, because we simply do not know. The pipeline the Prime Minister wants to push through is something that could have profound impacts on the coast, and scientific evidence shows that the Liberal government and the Prime Minister have simply not done their homework.
I was in this House when the Harper government gutted the environmental rules. I spoke to the budget for 14 hours, because there was so much to glean because of the impact on fish habitat and on environmental legislation right across the country.
It never would have occurred to me, or to most British Columbians, that the Liberals, having promised to address the concerns raised by Canadians from coast to coast to coast about the gutting of those environmental regulations, would refuse to do that.
This is no small issue, because when we talk about the impacts of just one spill, we are talking about impacts that could last for a generation. David Schindler, who is the foremost authority on water policy and water in Canada, recently wrote about the impacts of the Exxon Valdez. One generation later, the impacts are still being felt. The fishery has not come back in Alaska. The coast continues to be polluted by that spill. David Schindler is someone who has profound scientific renown, yet the Liberals, just as they have thrown aside the scientific evidence from the Royal Society, have thrown aside the scientific evidence from David Schindler. We know that the Exxon Valdez had a profound impact and continues to have a profound impact. The Kalamazoo River spill continues to have a profound impact on habitat, after the spending of a billion dollars.
We have a Prime Minister who came to Nanaimo a couple of weeks ago and said that there would be no coastal protection unless British Columbians promptly ignored all that evidence and promptly agreed with the Liberals on building the pipeline. That is unacceptable. That is why there is so much reaction in British Columbia. There is the illegitimate process, there are the broken promises of the Liberals, and there are the threats that unless the pipeline is agreed to, there will be no coastal protection and no environmental policies to combat climate change.
That is childish rhetoric that comes from the government. It is childish rhetoric that is improper for a national government. We need a national government that will actually show leadership on climate change and put in place the kinds of policies and process that consults British Columbians and Canadians. That is something Jagmeet Singh will bring to Ottawa when he is elected in 2019.