Home Month and Year December 2020 Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Support for TMX Runs Deep

Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Support for TMX Runs Deep

Cody Battershill

Canada’s no stranger to pipeline debates. As far back as the mid-1950s, the country’s had its share of disputes over oil and gas transmission.

The good news is we’ve had more successes than failures in advancing pipeline infrastructure. Far safer and more reliable today, pipelines bring essential energy products to markets across Canada and beyond our borders.

But it’s time Canada expanded its pipeline capacity. Even with the current COVID-related economic downturn, reputable research organizations like the International Energy Agency predict demand for oil and gas will rebound as the COVID recovery finds its footing.

All of this underlines the need, right now, to push hard on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project and to grow our market access for the long term.

And yet, pipeline opponents continue their objections to building pipeline infrastructure. Consider the poorly researched, largely out-dated and deeply flawed report from pipeline opponents the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

To his credit, Langley B.C.-based professional chemist and biologist Blair King has thoroughly critiqued the CCPA report. On the CCPA claim that TMX is no longer needed because markets have changed, the statement proves to be false and based on old and highly selective data. Search “A Chemist in Langley” for King’s complete critique.

A second equally false claim from activists is that Indigenous opposition to the project prevents its completion. But many Indigenous community members disagree.

Keith Matthew, former Chief of the Simpcw First Nation, a part of Shuswap Nation located North of Kamloops, discussed in a recent radio interview the agreements his community has negotiated with TMX.

“It’s really helped us in terms of our economic development. Now we’ve got no unemployment in my community, and the TMX dividends are being used to build a new administration building.

“Typically those opportunities would have gone past us. Now we’re a major part of the regional economy, probably the biggest employer in the North Thompson Valley.”

The former Chief says the TMX agreements have provided his community with important cultural benefits. “We’ve taken control of our own destiny, and we’re in a growth mode. We’re using business revenues to rebuild our culture, our language and our history.”

Whether you’re an Indigenous or a non-Indigenous community member living in rural or urban Canada, you know the value of employment. As of this past summer, fully 6,070 people were working on TMX, including more than 600 Indigenous. Other projects, including LNG Canada, Coastal GasLink and Keystone XL, tell similar stories.

In short, these are real, well-paid jobs created by oil and gas projects in Canada, supporting thousands of workers and their families. TMX is worthy of the support of every Canadian – in spite of the predictable and false criticisms of opponents.

Cody Battershill is a Calgary realtor and founder / spokesperson for CanadaAction.ca, a volunteer-initiated group that supports Canadian energy development and the environmental, social and economic benefits that come with it.