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Emergency debate on Trans Mountain held last night in House of Commons

Last Updated Apr 17, 2018 at 7:50 am PDT

File photo of Parliament Hill in Ottawa at night. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

'They have failed to meet the hope that people have in this government,' says NDP MP Guy Caron

OTTAWA – The expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is back in the headlines, both here and in Ottawa, where MPs held an emergency debate last night.

The NDP and Conservatives continue to blast the federal government for approving the mega project in the first place.

NDP MP Guy Caron says the federal Liberals have failed in their campaign promise to revamp the environmental assessment process for pipelines.

“They have failed to fulfill this promise, Mr. Speaker. They have failed to meet the hope that people — in British Columbia, especially — have in this government. And this is the crux of the problem right now, because we have hundreds of people who are protesting against the construction of this pipeline.

Caron says the federal Liberals have no one else to blame but themselves for the controversy.

“Because they spent the whole electoral campaign in 2015, talking about the need to re-do the environmental assessment process. We needed to actually ensure that there will be a more rigorous process in place, under which Kinder Morgan — the Trans Mountain project — will have to go under.”

Northern BC NDP MP Nathan Cullen questioned Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr about the risks.

“Is he aware of what capacity we have today — 2018 — to clean up a diluted bitumen spill in a river or in an ocean environment?”

Carr says environmental protections are up to snuff. “All of the necessary work that should have been done has been done.”

A motion for the debate was put forward by Conservative natural resources critic Shannon Stubbs. The Alberta MP says hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs, investor confidence in Canada, billions in economic development and national unity “are all at stake.”

BC opposes the $7.4-billion project, saying not enough is known about diluted bitumen and how to clean it up from ocean waters in the event of a spill.