Open letter re: SK response to TransMountain Pipeline Expansion

April 23, 2018
To: Scott Moe, Premier of Saskatchewan; Ryan Meili, Leader of the Opposition

Saskatchewan Legislative Building
2405 Legislative Dr., Regina, SK
S4S 0B3

In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of discussion across Canada regarding Kinder Morgan’s plan to expand the Trans Mountain Pipeline. Much of this discussion has framed the issue as a conflict between Alberta and British Columbia, and some have spoken about the potential for a “constitutional crisis”.

The government of Saskatchewan is now pursuing the idea of adopting legislation to limit the export of energy products to British Columbia in retaliation for British Columbia’s strong stand against the Kinder Morgan pipeline and their defense of the integrity of eco-systems.

Let us be clear. This is not about a conflict between Alberta and British Columbia. This is about a conflict between colonial, corporate power and the well-being of Planet Earth. Nor is this about a potential constitutional crisis. This is about a very real planetary ecological crisis – namely the crisis of catastrophic climate change.

As people living in Saskatchewan who are concerned about the destabilization of our global climate caused by our production and consumption of fossil fuels, we view the debate over whether to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline as a debate over whether or not to take our commitment to reduce fossil fuel production seriously.

The spring of 2018 marks thirty years since a gathering of climate scientists in Toronto issued its report warning of the very real threat posed to human and ecological survival as a result of the emission of carbon and other gasses into the atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels.

Since that time, there has been tonnes of rhetoric about reducing our carbon emissions, but in the realm of real action, we have usually fallen short of living up to such talk. In Saskatchewan, governments of all political stripes, far from taking climate issues seriously, have demonstrated a profound commitment to pleasing the oil industry by doing nothing to reduce carbon emissions.

In addition to our universal concerns regarding impacts on the global climate, there are other significant dimensions of concern when it comes to the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion issue.

The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states clearly that before developments can occur on the land of Indigenous communities, those communities must have given free, prior and informed consent to the development in question. In the case of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, there are numerous First Nations communities which have not given such consent.

As well, the impact of heavy oil on both fresh water and ocean eco-systems is particularly harmful – significantly more harmful than oil spills involving regular oil, and the ecological concerns of B.C. residents regarding both pipeline ruptures and tanker accidents are fully justified.

We are outraged by the Scott Moe government’s proposal to introduce legislation to limit the flow of energy products to British Columbia, and we are deeply disappointed by Opposition leader Ryan Meili’s lackluster response to the Moe government’s proposed legislation.

We, the undersigned, stand firmly with the government of British Columbia in its opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline and its defense of the integrity of both B.C. interior and west coast eco-systems; with the many B.C. area First Nations who are exercising their right to self-determination by saying no to the Kinder Morgan pipeline; and with all those in British Columbia and elsewhere who recognize that a livable, ecologically sound future for Planet Earth as a whole must involve phasing out fossil fuel production.

If we are serious about avoiding runaway, catastrophic climate change, we must phase out the production of all fossil fuels by 2050. This includes Alberta’s tar sands operations. If we are serious about such a phase out, we cannot afford to build any new pipelines, or to expand existing pipelines.

The time is now to show that we are committed to phasing out the petroleum energy industry by rejecting the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

The time is now for both our federal and provincial governments to take seriously the task of overseeing a just transition to a renewable energy economy, and to focus on creating the myriad jobs that can be created in the green energy sector, rather than pandering to the fossil fuel industry and frightening workers into thinking that a phase out of the fossil fuel industry means a one way loss of jobs. There are in fact several times more jobs to be created in the green energy sector than currently exist in the fossil fuel industry. Finally, the time is now for our governments to take seriously the right to self-determination of the Indigenous Peoples of these lands.

Recent polling has shown that there is widespread support in Saskatchewan for government action on climate change and for a transition away from fossil fuels. Throughout the world many governments and economies have already begun the transition to renewable energy, and as renewable sources of energy become ever less expensive, oil and other fossil fuels will become ever less competitive. It is time for our federal and provincial governments to stop propping up a fossil fuel industry that ultimately has no future.

We call upon the Moe government to refrain from introducing any legislation designed to punish British Columbia by limiting energy exports to B.C. We call upon Opposition leader Ryan Meili and his fellow NDP members of the legislature to take a strong stand against any attempt to punish British Columbia for its principled stand, and to have the courage to oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline in solidarity with the government of B.C., the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs, and all who are opposing Kinder Morgan across British Columbia and across the country.

Sincerely,
Climate Justice Saskatoon

Signed by 136 SK residents and 35 out-of-province signatories, as well as the following organizations:

Coalition for a Clean Green Saskatchewan Mother Earth Justice Advocates
Council of Canadians – Saskatoon chapter Saskatchewan Climate Forum
Council of Canadians – Regina chapter Saskatoon Parklands Eco-Left Coalition
Council of Canadians – Quill Plains chapter Treaty 6 Justice Collective

 

UPDATE

We received a (lackluster) response from Premier Moe, which you can read here.

2 thoughts on “Open letter re: SK response to TransMountain Pipeline Expansion

Add yours

  1. Another persuasive element that could well be included is this: just as the future potential of “return on investment” in pipelines grows very doubtful worldwide, this government is readying to pour our tax millions into bailing out an ailing U.S. oil company – leaving us to pay interest for decades, while suffering cut after cut after miserable cut, with near-zero benefit to Sask. or Canada.

  2. On April 3, 2017, The National Post reported that Brad Wall was personally invested in 3 oil companies that he was trying to lure to Saskatchewan. His stocks, the story reported were held in his wife’s name. As long as the Premier and other members of the government have financial arrangements similar to Mr Wall’s; there will be no change in Saskatchewan.

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