Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, meets with Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart in Vancouver, on Thursday November 1, 2018. Vancouver’s incoming mayor says a revamped National Energy Board review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is likely doomed to fail and will land the federal government back in a courtroom. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, meets with Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart in Vancouver, on Thursday November 1, 2018. Vancouver’s incoming mayor says a revamped National Energy Board review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is likely doomed to fail and will land the federal government back in a courtroom. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

New Trans Mountain pipeline review doomed to fail: Vancouver mayor-elect

Stewart, formerly the New Democrat MP for Burnaby South, was among a group of protesters who were arrested in March while blocking Trans Mountain’s main gate

Vancouver’s incoming mayor says a revamped National Energy Board review of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is likely doomed to fail and will land the federal government back in a courtroom.

The energy board is reviewing the project’s impacts on the marine environment and Kennedy Stewart says it’s too rushed, including a week-long window for Indigenous groups and others to apply to participate.

“I do think the revamped NEB process we’re going through probably is going to fail again. I don’t think giving First Nations a week to submit to a brand new reconciliation process is enough time and that’ll be challenged in court again and rightly so,” he said in an interview.

“I could see this being deadlocked like the Mackenzie Valley pipeline for many, many, many years,” he added, referring to a proposed natural gas line through the Northwest Territories that was stalled for decades.

Stewart, formerly the New Democrat MP for Burnaby South, was among a group of protesters who were arrested in March while blocking Trans Mountain’s main gate, violating a court order to stay five metres from company work sites. He pleaded guilty to contempt of court and paid a $500 fine.

After winning Vancouver’s mayoral race by fewer than 1,000 votes, he will be sworn in on Monday.

READ MORE: National Energy Board wants to hear your thoughts on Trans Mountain pipeline

His opinion on the pipeline expansion hasn’t changed, he said, and he will continue to back the city’s practice of supporting local Indigenous groups in their court challenges by applying to be an intervener.

The Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Nations have traditional territories in the Vancouver area and both have said the new process is repeating the same mistakes and laying the groundwork for a new court challenge.

The Federal Court of Appeal struck down the federal government’s approval of the project in August due to inadequate Indigenous consultation and the energy board’s failure to review impacts on the marine environment.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, which has purchased the existing Trans Mountain line and expansion project for $4.5 billion, tasked the energy board with reviewing marine environment impacts and submitting a report by Feb. 22.

Energy board spokesman James Stevenson declined comment on Stewart’s remarks but has said previously that the revamped review will be a comprehensive scientific and technical examination of project-related marine shipping.

Stewart said Trudeau was the one who brought up Trans Mountain during their first meeting Thursday since Stewart’s election win.

“I said, ‘First of all, it’s been a weird year. I was arrested, then I resigned as MP and now I’m mayor, within a period of about six months.’ But my position on that was clear. I’m still very much opposed to this pipeline,” he said.

“However, I understand my role has changed. Perhaps where my mandate as MP in Burnaby was to stop the pipeline as a top priority, the voters of this city have said your priority is to fix our housing problem.”

The pipeline expansion would triple the amount of oil being carried from the Edmonton area to a marine shipping terminal in Burnaby, increasing the number of tankers in Metro Vancouver waters seven-fold.

Stewart also said he told Trudeau that if the city takes any action against the project, he will call first to inform him.

Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley have said the project is in the national interest because Alberta needs to get its oil to markets outside the U.S. where it can fetch higher prices, particularly in Asia.

But Stewart said it’s ridiculous that Canada exports oil in the west while importing oil in the east. The country should have a national energy strategy that involves refining products in Canada, particularly in the eastern part of the country, he said.

“What ultimately would be the best thing to do is to ship Alberta oil east, make sure there’s guaranteed supplies for existing or new refineries, so Canadians are using Canadian oil,” he said.

Trudeau addressed the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade before his meeting with Stewart on Thursday. The prime minister said the court’s decision laid out a road map for his government to proceed with the project.

After meeting with Stewart, Trudeau said they agreed to make housing and infrastructure top priorities while diverging on the pipeline expansion.

“Obviously there’s issues like TMX where we’re going to disagree, but there’s also an awful lot for us to work on together.”

Laura Kane, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dirt bike crash on May 18 left Kelowna’s Steven Margetts paralyzed and without work. (GoFundMe)
Kelowna man paralyzed in dirt bike crash makes plea for help

GoFundMe launched for Steven Margetts, who shares a harrowing recap of his life-changing crash

Ecole Kelowna Senior Secondary School is facing changes as enrolment is beyond the school’s current student capacity. (Contributed)
French Immersion shake-up for Central Okanagan School District

Planning and facilities committee makes recommendations for school board

Highway 97 traffic was impacted by a crash in Lake Country Thursday morning. (DriveBC map)
UPDATE: Highway 97 cleared near Lake Country following crash

Vehicle incident between Vernon and Kelowna

A member of the Okanagan Mission Secondary School community has tested positive for COVID-19. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 cases confirmed at two Kelowna schools

Members of Anne McClymont, OKM school communities tested positive

A power outage on Westside Road affected thousands of residents Thursday morning. (BC Hydro map)
Power out for thousands on Westside

Outage sparked early this morning and BC Hydro crews on scene

(Needpix.com)
Pandemic has ‘exacerbated’ concerns for B.C. children and youth with special needs: report

Pandemic worsened an already patchwork system, representative says

Penticton Secondary School has been added to the list of school exposures to COVID-19 by Interior Health. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
COVID-19 reported at second South Okanagan high school

Penticton Secondary is the third school in District 67 this week to have COVID exposures

Janet Austin, the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, not seen, swears in Premier John Horgan during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Horgan says he will look to fill gaps in the federal government’s sick-pay benefits program aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. premier says province prepared to patch holes in new federal sick-pay benefits

Horgan said workers should not be denied pay when they are preventing COVID-19’s spread

(Google Maps)
Osoyoos Credit Union staff member tests positive for COVID-19

The credit union made the announcement Dec. 1

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An Enderby restaurant and pub was shut down Sunday afternoon, Nov. 29, 2020 as a precaution after a guest reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. (Howard Johnson photo)
North Okanagan pub reopens after COVID-19 scare

After a guest reportedly tested positive for the virus, staff test results came back negative

Most Read