Former Liberal minister calls for rejection of TMX

Trans pipeline

A former Liberal environmental minister is calling for a rejection of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

David Anderson, who served 10 years in the cabinets of Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, and is now the honorary director of West Coast Environmental Law.  He has sent letters to six members of Justin Trudeau's cabinet, asking them to shut down the TMX project.

Anderson says his chief concern is that no business plan, in respect for Asian demand in Alberta bitumen, has been presented.

"There's not much point in building a pipeline, and expanding a pipeline to the coast, an making oil available at the coast for onward transportation by tanker, if, in fact, there's no buyer in Asia to pick up the product.  And so far we have no knowledge of any potential buyers in Asia who would take Alberta bitumen."

Anderson says the biggest potential buyer would be China, and he says there's a real risk in having a supply system tied to China at this time.

"The canola producers in Canada have lost $3.5-billion in the last 6 months because of cancelled contracts from China.  And, China, there's no question, will use these purchases of oil from Canada in the same way as they did with the purchases of canola.  In other words, use it as an economic weapon."

He adds that even if deals with China, or other Asian countries, are made shipping bitumen is still risky, would be really expensive, and potentially detrimental to the environment.

"It has high production costs, and it's going to have quite high tariffs for the pipeline to bring it to the coast, and then of course there's going to be shipping costs.  But the shipping costs is what worries us the most, because if they use cheaper ships, low-end ships, ships that charter for less money, then they have a massive increase in environmental risks when you have flagged the convenience and second rate vessels and crews."

He says we still need to explore more sustainable energy sources, instead of investing so much into oil.

The Federal Government is expected to make an announcement on the future of the pipeline tomorrow.

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