With $4.5 billion of taxpayer money invested in the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the federal government needs more support than ever in getting the expansion project over the finish line.
That's because Canadians in general were the biggest losers when the Federal Court of Appeal decided to nullify permits for the expansion of the existing pipeline.
Lost jobs in construction mean suffering for familes and fewer long-term jobs in oilpatch production, fewer taxes paid to government, lower export revenues for oil companies, and ultimately higher taxes to pay for the services that would have been funded by safe and successful economic growth. And that is just for starters.
While many hope that a quick remedy will be found allowing the project to resume, the decision likely postpones many of the increased safety measures that come with the project's higher levels of marine traffic, an important quid pro quo in the making of a project package that could be palatable to the majority of Canadians who now support it.
It also places on hold the aspirations of the many First Nations who are supportive of the project. Recently, we interviewed the chief of one of these First Nations, Chief Mike LeBourdais of the Whispering Pines FN near Kamloops:
It's a similar story in another 40 or so First Nations that also tie their future aspirations to the project.
The appeal court's decision is sure to embolden the backers of anti-development litigation, particularly those who have large sums to spend on such ventures and have no stake in providing for Canadian needs.
At a time when Canada's trade relations with the United States hangs in the balance, and the U.S. moves from being our biggest crude oil buyer to our biggest export competitor, we need to focus intently on what's best for the country in a multi-dimensional sense: the economy, the environment, and the people. There is no question that completing the Trans Mountain expansion will accomplish all of these things. The quicker the court's issues can be resolved, allowing construction to resume, the better off Canada will be.
There's not much to be done about the feeling of powerlessness felt by those who care about a balanced Canada. One small action we can all take is this: send an email, or make a call, to your MP regardless of the party they represent. Let them know it's time to get this pipeline done for Canada. Here's the House of Commons contact page.