Transparency, responsibility are the keywords in today's pipeline projects

With British Columbia's Trans Mountain project before the National Energy Board this week, it's timely to reflect on how pipelines mean big benefits for BC while doing right by the climate. 


For more than 60 years Trans Mountain Pipeline has moved crude oil from Edmonton to a marine terminal in Burrard Inlet. It enables local refining as well as supplying about 80 per cent of all motor vehicle fuel used in Metro Vancouver.

This week in Calgary, Kinder Morgan Canada stands before the National Energy Board to present its final argument for tripling the capacity of the pipeline. The company is prepared to invest $5.4 billion US.

Pending approval by the NEB and the federal government, shovels could hit the ground later this year. Trans Mountain Expansion Project would put thousands of people to work and creating a stream of economic benefits in both large and small communities along the pipeline route. The wages earned by these workers would support the broader economy as well, reaching sectors such as hospitality and retail.

It would also be an important job-creator in Alberta at a time when laid-off oil sector and construction workers in that province are eager for good news amid falling oil prices.

Canadians with an open mind about resource development are right to ask questions about pipeline safety. On this matter, industry bodies such as CEPA have done a fair job of drawing together the relevant facts. 

When it comes to climate change, exporting oil remains the right thing for Canada to do. This is because overall global demand for oil will rise by 15 per cent through 2040, due to increased oil use in moving people and making things, as well as rising industrial development and economic growth. 

Oil producers operating in democratic and well-regulated countries such as Canada are the world’s most transparent and responsible source to satisfy demand in a carbon-conscious world. 

When their representatives met in Paris in December 2015, nearly 200 nations agreed to pursue climate-change action. They were clear on the need for innovation to use our fuels better, and also to address poverty. Global want is caused in large part to lack of access to reliable energy. Canada’s exports to the developing world will not only benefit Canada, they will aid countries striving to share our low infant mortality and long lifespans. 

Wise governments will be seeking, more and more, to price the “environmental harm” from energy use by turning to carbon taxes or emissions trading. This may help to explain why the Trans Mountain project has broad support in the business community, for example from broad-based organizations like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

That support extends to working people In the construction sector, both the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association and Local 115 of the Independent Union of Operating Engineers are among those expressing support for the Trans Mountain project— subject to the NEB’s nearly concluded regulatory review.

Oil is Canada’s single-largest export. The Trans Mountain Pipeline is just one example of what we have to do benefit responsibly from it. For today, our only market is the United States, which is in the midst of an oil production boom that is driving down the price of Canadian oil. If Canadian producers can reach international markets via expanded and new pipelines, all of Canada will benefit by the higher prices our oil will fetch.

Here are a few key numbers:

  • $73.5 billion in additional value from Canadian oil sales over 20 years of operations.
  • $28 billion in new federal and provincial tax revenue
  • $394 million in direct tax revenues to BC during construction
  • $1.19 billion in direct tax revenues to BC during operations
  • 35,864 person years of work in BC during construction
  • 39,246 person years of work in BC during operations

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