“This is about leaving a better country for our kids than the one we inherited from our parents. Today we are taking a strong step in that direction.”
These words were part of Justin Trudeau’s speech when he made the announcement last week approving the Trans Mountain expansion project and Enbridge’s Line 3, and denying Northern Gateway, a proposed pipeline that would have carried oil from Alberta to an export terminal in Kitimat.
The Trans Mountain expansion nearly triples the capacity of the existing pipeline that moves oil from Edmonton to Burnaby, while Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement will travel from Alberta through the Prairies to Wisconsin.
The response was predictable. The announcement was touted by some as a great boon for the economy while it was decried by others as disastrous for the environment. Relief was expressed by those concerned about the environmental impacts of the Northern Gateway project.
There is no doubt that the economy is intrinsically linked to oil. We in the Shuswap, like many communities across Canada, feel it when oil production is flagging. We depend on it.
But a choice has been made.
Trudeau’s definition of “better” is indicative of his mindset. There is no question oil is destroying air, land and water throughout the world, through its extraction, its transport and its consumption.
We are choosing – and it is a choice – current economic gains over the possibility of leaving future generations with clean air or water.
It’s questionable if we will leave a “better country” for our kids.