Two weeks ago, citing serious concerns of my own and of my constituents, I made a strong recommendation to the federal Cabinet on behalf of my riding that the Trans-Mountain Expansion project (TMX) not be approved.
In doing this I recognized and acknowledged that while it is my job to act on behalf of my riding, it is Cabinet’s job to act on behalf of Canada as a whole — and on the whole that is a much tougher job.
This week, Cabinet did just that, in approving TMX. They determined that, subject to 157 conditions, including environmental protections, emissions limits, and safety provisions, among others, this project is in the best interests of the nation.
While I am disappointed in this outcome, and it is clearly not my preferred decision, I have every confidence that it was taken with great care, conscientiously and diligently considering all relevant information and recommendations, including mine. I therefore respect this decision, and accept it as being in the national interest.
The decision is made. It will not be unmade. The time for arguing the pros and cons has passed. Our concerns are still serious, and still relevant, but we must now take up those concerns as challenges to be met and problems to be solved. We will meet those challenges. We will solve those problems. As we go forward all 157 conditions must be strictly and rigorously enforced.
From a climate change standpoint, as part of this Alberta has committed to a 100 Mt/y CO2-equivalent cap on oil sands emissions. This is an effective cap on oil sands production, and a powerful incentive to adopt cleaner production technologies.
There is also much more in how we’re moving forward to give me further confidence: a pan-Canadian price on carbon pollution, a commitment to reduce federal government emissions by 40% by 2030, major reductions in coal power generation, and many other initiatives to foster green technology and a green economy and encourage a swift transition away from our dependence on fossil fuels.
Taken altogether, I believe all Canadians can be optimistic.