August 20, 2015 is the genesis of the motion that we are seeing today. I supported the fact that was brought forward, that we are going to oppose this motion, for reasons that my colleague for Burnaby South spelled out. However, on August 20, 2015, the Prime Minister came to British Columbia, and in front of a crowd in Esquimalt said very clearly that Kinder Morgan would not be approved unless the entire process was redone. That was a solemn commitment he made to British Columbians on August 20, 2015, a few weeks prior to the election date, and that is the genesis of the problem that we have before us today.
The federal government has taken Mr. Harper's incredible gutting of environmental regulations and the NEB process. The Liberals and the Prime Minister are taking a process that is discredited, a process that does not involve Canadians, does not involve British Columbians, and making the process their own. In other words, the Prime Minister promised to redo the whole process, put in place something that would actually mean legitimate consultation with British Columbians, but he did the exact opposite. It is absolutely shameful.
The Liberals have compounded this, as my colleague for Burnaby South has just mentioned, by threatening military action in British Columbia. Therefore, we have an illegitimate process, one that the Liberals promised to change but did not and instead have approved the pipeline when the Prime Minister said very clearly he would not. Then, on top of that, they threatened British Columbians. It is because of a badly broken, gutted promise that was made solemnly to British Columbians just a few weeks prior to the election date that so many British Columbians have come out in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline. We have first nations that have come out in opposition. The city of Burnaby, which I and my colleague for Burnaby South represent, has come out strongly opposed, as have municipalities throughout the coastal region.
Why have they come out in opposition? It is not just that the process is illegitimate. We had Mr. Harper's Conservative government gut the whole process and made it illegitimate in anybody's eyes. Then the Liberals promised to do one thing, but are doing the exact opposite. Also, there are the impacts on the coast, which could be catastrophic.
I grew up in New Westminster, and I am proud of growing up in the lower mainland. Four generations of my family have lived in that area. My grandfather came from Norway and fished the coast for a number of years.
When we talk about the fishing and tourism industries, they have a profound impact on our economy in British Columbia. Therefore, we are talking about impacts that the Liberals have never investigated or looked at with an illegitimate process, and the potential loss of billions of dollars if there is just one spill. This is why so many communities have come out in opposition to this project. It is why so many communities have said that, ultimately, without a legitimate process, this is simply something that has no credibility.
As my colleague for Burnaby South talked about the impacts on the Fraser River, I would like to mention the Brunette River area, which is where I walk my dogs every morning. It is an area that could be profoundly impacted by the change in route, the new route, which is being pushed through. There were no consultations. The City of New Westminster was not able to come forward with its concerns. This habitat has been restored after decades of work by people who are involved in the Sapperton Fish & Game Club and other community organizations. They restored the habitat, and now we have Kinder Morgan with the approval of the Liberal government, which would put a risk on the Brunette River as well. These are profound risks that have not been investigated by a legitimate process.
Having been one of the few people in this House of Commons who has been ankle-deep in oil, having worked in the Shellburn oil refinery and the Burnaby tank farm, I should mention that I know how serious the environmental impacts can be. Having worked in the industry, having been ankle-deep in oil, knowing how difficult it is to clean up even a small spill, I can say with some assurance that the incredible irresponsibility with which the Liberals have approached this whole process, not just betraying British Columbians by breaking their promise but also by refusing to put in place any sort of public consultation process, is something that has alienated so many British Columbians.
My colleague referenced the Royal Society report. The Royal Society report is something that not just Liberal MPs from British Columbia but all Liberal MPs should be reading because it speaks repeatedly to the fact that we do not know the impacts to the Salish Sea or the B.C. coast by a spill of bitumen. We have no idea. The Royal Society repeatedly requests that high priority, urgent research be done in all of these areas because we simply do not know. The pipeline that the Prime Minister wants to push through is something that could have profound impacts on the coast, and scientific evidence shows that the Liberal government and the Prime Minister have simply not done their homework.
I was in this House when the Harper government gutted the environmental rules. I spoke for 14 hours on the budget as there was so much to glean out because of the impacts on fish habitat and environmental legislation right across the country. With the Liberals having promised to address the concerns that were raised by Canadians from coast to coast to coast about the gutting of those environmental regulations, it never would have occurred to me or to to most British Columbians that once they promised to address them they would refuse to do that.
This is no small issue because when we talk about the impacts of just one spill, we are talking about impacts that could last for a generation. David Schindler, who is the foremost authority on water policy and water in Canada, recently wrote about the the impacts of the Exxon Valdez. One generation later, those impacts are still being felt. The fishery has not come back in Alaska. The coast continues to be polluted by that spill. David Schindler, is someone who is profoundly scientifically renowned, yet the Liberals, just as they have throw aside the scientific evidence from the Royal Society, throw aside the scientific evidence from David Schindler. We know the Exxon Valdez had a profound impact and continues to have a profound impact. After the expending of $1 billion, the Kalamazoo River spill continues to have a profound impact on habitat. However, we have a Prime Minister who came to Nanaimo a couple of weeks ago in British Columbia and said that there would be no coastal protection. Thus, British Columbians ignored all that evidence and promptly agreed with the Liberals on building the pipeline. That is unacceptable. That is why there is so much of a reaction from British Columbia.
The illegitimate process, the broken promises of the Liberals, and then the threats that unless the pipeline is agreed to there will be no coastal protection, there will be no environmental policies to combat climate change is a childish rhetoric that comes from the government. It is a childish rhetoric that is improper for a national government. We need a national government that will actually show leadership on climate change and will put in place the kind of policies and process that consults British Columbians and Canadians. That is something that Jagmeet Singh will bring to Ottawa when he is elected in 2019.