Justin Trudeau was flanked by cabinet ministers when he announced the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
We assess how different people/things and, of course, businesses fared this week
Welcome back to another edition of the BCBusiness Report Card. And what an edition it promises to be.
There was a lot of news that happened this week. And we wanted to cover whatever is going on in your world, we really did.
But that might have to wait until next week. We’re sure you’re heartbroken, but hopefully you can understand.
For when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion earlier this week, it dominated the news cycle like Avengers Endgame dominated the box office.
And though no one is comparing Trudeau to Thanos (at least that we know of. And also, does that make Catherine McKenna Nebula?), the pipeline announcement has affected people and groups across the country.
Here’s who we think won and lost as a result of the announcement, with a special focus on what it means for B.C.
Not giving a damn
It’s funny. When the federal Liberal government was elected, it certainly seemed like “portraying a certain image” was of the utmost importance. They wanted to be seen as educated and transparent, eloquent and progressive. Or, you know, the complete opposite of the government they replaced.
But like a fourth-year university student who has gone from plucky freshman to “get me the hell out of here,” the Liberals seem to want to get this election over with, for better or worse.
How else does one explain announcing the pipeline expansion approval on the same day you declare a national climate emergency?
The Liberals had to know they’d get ripped to shreds for this (and they have), but decided to just cram everything in because, you know, graduation is right around the corner.
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
Business Council of BC
Yes, the economy needs to be diversified; yes, climate change is a disaster. But yet, the impact the Trans Mountain expansion will have on B.C. businesses is no joke.
“In an ideal world, we’d have a much larger, diversified economy,” Central 1 Credit Union economist David Hobden told us recently.
“We don’t. Those mega-projects, if they don’t go, they’re missed. And if they do go, they’re noticeable.”
These organizations will notice them, and so will their members.
The B.C. government
Andrew Weaver is pissed. John Horgan is disappointed. But from a voter’s perspective, this issue won’t torch the current government nearly as much as it could have. The energy industry and rural B.C. will (theoretically) get the jobs and money the pipeline promises, while those opposed to the pipeline will credit the NDP/Green alliance for trying to fight it.
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs
The organization vowed that, contrary to what the government says, the pipeline will never get built. It’s a strong statement, but it’s also hard not to believe them. This is a committed group that is one of the more powerful outfits in the province.
The week didn’t hold good news for them (it was never supposed to), but it’s hard to count the UBCIC out.
Sierra Club BC
Another group that had harsh words for Trudeau, the non-profit declared that "saying yes to the Trans Mountain pipeline and tankers project is saying yes to more record-breaking wildfire destruction, droughts, rising sea levels and acidifying oceans. We are in a climate emergency. We must act like we are.”
B.C. federal Liberals
Oh hey, Hedy Fry. What’s up, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Jonathan Wilkinson? How’s things, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and President of the Treasury Board Joyce Murray?
All of these prominent Liberal cabinet members are in ridings that won’t be thrilled by the Trans Mountain decision. In fact, they (and most Liberal MPs in B.C.) are going to be in some trouble, with many right-leaning voters already seemingly having made their decision.
Those on the left will have to figure out if they have the stomach to vote strategically once again. We’re betting it’ll be a no on that one, dog.