‘We don’t believe in buying leaky pipelines,’ says NDP’s Singh

Jagmeet Singh stands outside Metropolis at Metrotown on August 8, the day he official announced he would be running for a seat in the Burnaby South riding. Image, Lauren Boothby / Burnaby Now

Jagmeet Singh, the federal NDP leader, officially announced Wednesday that he would be running in the Burnaby South riding.

If a byelection is called, Singh will run to replace outgoing MP and Vancouver mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart who submitted his resignation last week.

Sister publication Burnaby Now sat down with Singh to discuss a range of issues. The following questions pertained to plans by the federal government to purchase Trans Mountain.

On Aug. 30, Kinder Morgan Canada Limited shareholders will vote on the Canadian government’s offer to buy the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and the Trans Mountain expansion project (TMEP) for $4.5 billion.

In addition to the $4.5 billion that Canada will pay for the existing pipeline, associated assets and $1.1 billion in expenditures already made for the expansion project, the Canadian government will assume the cost of twinning the existing line, and then try to find a third-party buyer or consortium of investors to buy the project.

Burnaby Now: Kinder Morgan -- you seemed to have changed your mind on the issue. Why take the stance you take now?

Singh: No, I have not changed my mind at all. I have firmly, firmly said this is not the right decision. I have strongly denounced it, said, listen, we should not be spending public dollars on a 65-year-old leaky pipeline. That is not the priority for Canadians. We should be spending money on clean energy jobs for today and for tomorrow, made it clear that this is something that is problematic for the environment, for the coastline, Indigenous peoples. On a whole host of issues, this is problematic and I’ve raised that concern.

BN: What are you planning to do about it?

Singh: For one, make sure that we oppose this decision — this is not the way to go ahead — and talk about the alternative. Do we want to be a nation that invests billions of dollars on technology of the past, or do we talk about investing billions of dollars in renewable energy, jobs that can be created for today’s workers, and for the next generation? That’s the choice we have, and I want to make sure we put that choice forward to Canadians.

BN: What happens if the deal goes through, we end up buying the pipeline, and then NDP wins the next election? Now you own a pipeline. What are you going to do?

Singh: We have to figure out the quickest way possible for us to make sure that our priorities are in line with what Canadians want. Canadians want a future that is sustainable, a future where we defend the environment and a future where we are investing in the direction that the global society is heading toward, which is renewable energy, clean energy, and jobs that are for the future.

We’ve got to make decisions quickly that can actually help us get back on track.

BN Are you planning on doing anything like Kennedy Stewart has done to stop the pipeline? To go up there and protest?

Singh: I’m honoured to have such a strong platform to talk about these issues. I want to use my platform to champion the alternative, to talk about what Canadians really want for our future, what we can be doing with our resources with our public dollars, how we can invest them in a way that would actually prepare us for the future. I want to put those ideas forward and be a strong champion for the fact that this is not the way we want to go. We don’t believe in buying leaky pipelines, that this is not the future for Canada.

The full interview is here .