CPJ engagement in the pipeline debates goes back decades. Over the last number of years in particular—as our work on climate justice has deepened—we have repeatedly called into question the misalignment of Canada’s positions on climate action and pipeline development.
In 2016, we expressed sadness at the federal government’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline (TMX), noting that “Prime Minister Trudeau’s failure to recognize the climate impacts of these massive projects flies in the face of Canada’s claims to climate leadership.”
Following the government’s purchase of the same pipeline in May 2018, we observed that in “debates around pipeline development, the federal government has preferred to sidestep its commitment to both reconciliation and the development of a low-carbon economy.” Later the same year, we reiterated our opposition to TMX, highlighting that it would further climate change and inhibit reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. At the same time, we expressed our firm belief that moving forward, the legitimate fears of oil sands workers must be addressed, and pointed to the tremendous potential of a just transition to a low-carbon economy.
When the Parliament of Canada declared a climate emergency in June 2019, it seemed only logical that that would be the end of pipeline development. Instead TMX was re-approved the very next day.
So now, in the wake of US President Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline, CPJ has joined Indigenous leaders, economists, and health, environmental, labour and social justice organizations in calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to cancel the Trans Mountain Pipeline and follow-through on commitments to bring forward a just transition act.