No Vancouver vote on Kinder Morgan pipeline
Vancouver city council voted to amend a motion for a referendum during this year's civic election in exchange for asking the federal government to hold one. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
A chance to give Vancouverites a say on the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline was wasted when council decided Wednesday against holding a plebiscite on the issue, said Green Party Coun. Adriane Carr.
Vision Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer amended Carr’s motion to instead urge the federal government to hold a vote after the National Energy Board finishes its hearings, complete with campaign donation restrictions.
“They basically avoided acting in a way that would have given the public a say,” Carr said.
But Reimer said holding the referendum before the NEB hearings are completed would be like holding a vote on if someone is guilty during the middle of a court case.
She’s also concerned that no spending limits for either side of the debate could pervert the process and overshadow the civic election.
“We agree there should be a hearing, but it shouldn’t be at the same time as the civic election,” Reimer said.
Carr said she doesn’t believe any amount of money could convince Vancouver voters to support the proposal and Vision thinking otherwise is misguided.
“I disagreed, then they called me naive,” Carr said. “I call them cynical.”
The pipeline would twin the current one from Alberta to Burnaby, where oil would be loaded onto ships in Burrard Inlet for export, resulting in almost 40 tankers a month.
On Tuesday, Vancouver city staff issued a report calling the NEB’s process “undemocratic” and the city has now pledged to hold its own hearings for residents to talk about the proposal.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford issued regulations for oil companies operating in Canada.
Among the changes, oil companies will be 100% responsible for spill cleanup costs, no matter who is at fault, and succumbing to NEB control of such a spill if a company shirks its responsibilities.