Fred Richer was already opposed to Kinder Morgan’s pipeline. He just didn’t expect it would ever be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pipeline.
Richer was among a group of protestors gathered Wednesday on Baker Street to voice their opposition to the federal government’s plan to purchase the Trans Mountain Pipeline project from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.
The new pipeline will twin with an already existing 65-year-old pipeline and carry 890,000 barrels of Albertan crude oil 1,150 kilometres daily to a new port in Burnaby.
The cost of expanding the pipeline has been estimated by Kinder Morgan to be $7.4 billion if construction is completed by December 2020.
“I was not very happy, but it also seems surrealistic to me,” said Richer. “Now why all these years the governments have been privatizing everything, and now suddenly they are going public and they are buying something? The whole thing’s a joke. It’s ridiculous, it’s a bad economic move and I don’t really understand why they are doing it honestly.”
Construction on the controversial pipeline had been put on hold April 8 amidst concerns from Kinder Morgan investors. B.C. Premier John Horgan meanwhile has challenged the project in the B.C. Court of Appeal, saying the province has jurisdiction to limit the flow of bitumen.
Trudeau’s Liberal Party had previously campaigned on progressive climate change policies during the 2015 election. Trudeau has also committed Canada to the Paris climate accord, which requires total greenhouse gas emissions be cut to 517 megatonnes annually by 2030.
The potential environmental impact of the pipeline is among Richer’s main concerns.
“It’s highly toxic to the salmon and the whales that live in the waters off the coast of British Columbia,” he said. “Oil spills happen all the time, there was one that happened just the other day outside of Kamloops on the original Kinder Morgan pipeline.
“Why in heck are we going after this crazy adventure when everyone with half a brain knows it’s time to move on and get away from the oil?”