On August 19th, I presented my report on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project to the Ministerial Panel in North Vancouver. A summary of the report can be found below and a full version of the document is available for download at the bottom of the page. If you would like to request a hardcopy of the report, please contact my office at Terry.Beech@parl.gc.ca
My name is Terry Beech, and I am the Member of Parliament for the riding of Burnaby North–Seymour. I am also the Parliamentary Secretary for Science. Today, however, I am presenting this report as the local voice of the more than 100,000 citizens in Burnaby and North Vancouver, whom I have been elected to represent. This report reflects to the best of my ability the viewpoints of our community. I would also like to acknowledge that our riding includes the unceded territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish peoples.
Burnaby North–Seymour is arguably the most impacted riding in the country by this project:
The riding straddles both sides of the Burrard Inlet;
It contains the site of the proposed Tank storage expansion on Burnaby mountain;
While the project is described as a “twinning” of existing pipeline, in our riding it is mostly new pipe going through a new route;
Not only are we the home of the Chevron Refinery, our riding also includes the existing Westridge Tanker terminal and the proposed expansion; and
Tanker traffic is visible from both sides of the riding and impacts existing commercial and recreational activity.
Before I dive into the main content of my report, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Ministerial panel for their work to date, and the work that they still have to do.
They are working long hours on a short deadline, and I personally would like to thank each of them for their dedication to this important process.
I attended six full days of hearings with the panel and the tone and professionalism under which they conducted these proceedings is to be commended.
I note that on multiple occasions, the panel regularly allowed speakers to go over their allotted time, resulting in meetings sometimes going late into the night until the last person had spoken.
For the sake of context, and so that you fully understand my involvement, commitment and experience on this issue, I would like to share my history with this project to date:
I began door-knocking in the community in April of 2014. In the last 28 months, my team and I have knocked on over 56,000 doors and made over 25,000 phone calls.
We’ve hosted town halls, 16 coffee meetings, and attended over 65 events in the community. Rarely do we participate in a community event without talking about the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
We are a data focused team and have kept a thorough digital record of our conversations and interactions with our constituents.
This project is the most discussed issue in my riding totaling thousands of touchpoints. This includes more than a thousand emails, hundreds of letters, and countless one-on-one meetings with constituents.
During the election we attended 18 all candidates debates for which this project was the most consistent point of discussion.
I was the first candidate in British Columbia to meet with representatives of Kinder Morgan, as well as the WCMRC. I have toured the Inlet with the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, and my wife and I have kayaked along the entire Westridge facility including a trip from Cates Park to the Chevron refinery and back.
In terms of secondary research I have not only read the NEB report twice, but I’ve read the majority of the initial application and the reports that are cited in these documents. In some cases I’ve read reports that are mentioned in the endnotes of reports cited in the endnotes. All of this is to say I’ve read a lot and I’ve tried my best to understand what I’ve read.
In terms of primary research, since I was elected I have discussed this issue with:
- Local municipal councillors and Mayors throughout the lower mainland.
- Indigenous peoples, including representatives of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, and Squamish First Nations, and other bands along the pipeline route.
- In addition to local constituents, I have discussed this issue with members of cabinet, caucus, opposition members, MLAs, the Premier of British Columbia and the Prime Minister.
I would also like to thank various Members of Parliament from Alberta. They have taken an exceptional amount of time and energy to speak with me and discuss our mutual concerns when it comes to the issues of:
- Getting our resources to market;
- Growing our economy;
- Protecting the environment; and
- Taking action on climate change, a defining issue of our generation.
Many of the issues of primary concern for my constituents have been thoroughly covered in others’ presentations to the panel. I wish to offer my thanks to these presenters, many of whom have made significant sacrifices to both their professional and family life in order to advocate on behalf of their community over a period of many years.
I believe that the quality of a decision is determined by the quality of debate; you can be assured that when parliament returns in the fall that similar discussions will be happening at caucus and in the house.
While I submitted a draft of my presentation to the panel, I updated it on September 15th to reflect the results of the 44,000 surveys that we distributed in the riding, as well as three additional public forums we held since the presentation to the TMX Panel. On September 7th, I hosted members of the BC caucus for a final public forum at Simon Fraser University. The panel, other elected officials, and the general public were highly encouraged to attend and participate.
Given the plethora of topics that have already been discussed and my desire to be an additive voice to this dialogue, I have limited myself to 10 key points that I would like for the panel to consider.
The concept of “Social License”.
After speaking with tens of thousands of individuals, including local, provincial and indigenous representatives, I can tell you with confidence that the people of Burnaby North– – Seymour on balance stand opposed to this project, and that the community does not grant its permission for this project to proceed.
Renewed relationship that we must build with Indigenous Peoples moving forward.
In this last parliamentary session, I was proud to host representatives of the Tsleil Watuth, Squamish and Musqueum Nations in Ottawa so that they could share their concerns on this project with other members of parliament.
The National Energy Board process
There are concerns that making a decision in absence of the proposed modernizations to the National Energy Board will not adequately address many concerns that have been raised. I was glad that the TMX panel was formed to pass on these concerns to cabinet on behalf of our community.
The issue of Corporate Fairness.
This is not an environment where the best ideas can rise to the top, and we may be preventing innovative new projects from moving forward in the first place. This is of particular importance when we consider all the various kinds of alternative energy projects that may be coming forward in the near future.
Relevant Comparisons to Alternative Projects or Routes
When making a 60 year decision it seems prudent that these types of projects should be evaluated in the context of their viable alternatives.
I believe that there might be a way forward where we can enjoy the same economic benefits but do a better job at minimizing environmental and economic risk.
The Importance of Defining the Term “National Interest”
I want to make decisions that will help make Canada strong not just four years from now, but 25, 50 and 100 years from now. This means that the long-term costs must be fully evaluated alongside the benefits. It is the only meaningful way to truly evaluate “National Interest”.
Like my constituents, I worry that by pushing this project through our most urban and highly utilized residential neighbourhoods, we are unnecessarily increasing risk while not gaining any additional incremental economic benefit.
This is a residential neighbourhood and recreational area surrounded by parks, schools and some of the most beautiful wilderness that the world has to offer, and it must be experienced to be understood.
Canadian Energy Strategy
We must ask how resource development today fits into an overall plan to build a more sustainable future. This plan must also take into account Canada’s role within a globalized context which considers countries that are at various stages of development and that utilize different systems of government. This is a complex global optimization problem that deserves the full attention of government.
Decision within the context of Climate Change
Market wide policy changes will have a more persistent and significant impact on climate change than focusing on the economic and environmental balance of individual projects.
The Ministerial Special Representative Process
I also suggest that in the name of transparency and openness that the raw data that was collected from this process be made available to the public.