June 18, 2019 (Vancouver, BC) - The Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC) is encouraged by the federal government’s decision to grant its final approval to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project (TMX).
“The approval of the best-in-class Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion is vital for an open trading economy that must have access for natural resources and energy products to get to diversified global markets,” said Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO of the Business Council of British Columbia. “Achieving full-value for our petroleum exports in this case, or for agri-food, manufactured goods, technology or other exports is fundamental to our country’s success and that of its people.”
Exports of natural resource commodities represent up to 75 percent of B.C.’s merchandise exports, disproportionately paying the bills and will continue to do so for some time by providing people, communities and governments with the income, innovations and supporting services we demand to maintain the quality of life we enjoy in Canada and British Columbia.
“First and foremost, now that the decision has been rendered, the TMX project must be built in a timely manner if our approvals are to be credible,” said D’Avignon. “We have become content to build increasingly complex processes and defer to court decisions, losing our way as the world passes us by.”
“Today’s decision should also be a catalyst to amend current legislative thinking and focus on the need for practical outcome-based approaches that enable timely decision-making for responsible natural resources projects that maintain our values and generate revenue for governments and families while reclaiming our reputation as a responsible and attractive place to invest.”
Since 2013, concurrent to Trans Mountain’s application to the existing pipeline network, the United States added 35,000 kilometers of new crude oil pipelines, becoming a global exporter at Canada’s expense.
“With the final federal government approval once again granted to this key project, the ball is now firmly in the court of the provincial government to support the decision and set an example for the nation’s leaders to foster improved relations among the provinces and Ottawa.” said Mr. D’Avignon. “B.C. came into confederation on the promise of connecting our economy and people with the rest of Canada via the railway that moves both east and west. National infrastructure, whether through ports, railways or pipelines as well as access to and from B.C. as Canada’s Pacific Gateway, is part of that obligation for our province and country.”
“Canada works because of cooperative federalism for the benefit of all residents. Without all levels of government working together by seeking compromise and clarity of purpose building on our strengths and assets, the foundation of our economy is seriously threatened.” stated D’Avignon.
BCBC’s recent study The Ties that Bind shows that, “As the gateway for Alberta products traded with Asia, B.C. garners more than $2 billion in export earnings every year by providing transportation and related services to Alberta,” said Ken Peacock, Chief Economist of the Business Council of BC. “Capital investments in port and related transportation infrastructure also benefit both provinces.”
The Business Council estimates that $30 billion in the trade of goods and services exists between B.C. and Alberta. Trade, capital flows, migration, and interprovincial employment between the two serve to bolster economic growth and prosperity in both provinces. A review of the top 25 exports for each province in the report shows the breadth of the trading relationship and confirms that energy – oil and natural gas -- are the most significant traded products, with Alberta and B.C. exporting over $2.6 and $2.2 billion in refined petroleum and natural gas products respectively to one another.
“Today’s final decision is a good outcome. It’s good economically; it’s good in advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples to enable self-determination; it’s good for increasing protection of our land and ocean environments; it’s good for the creation of wealth to reinvest in low carbon energy and clean technologies for today and tomorrow; and it’s good for supplying much needed extracted energy that is transported safely and responsibly to fuel our cars and buses, and meet world demand in diverse markets at previously unattainable global prices for petroleum products,“ said Mr. D’Avignon.
About the Business Council of British Columbia
Now in its 53rd year as the premier business organization in British Columbia, the Business Council of B.C. is a non-partisan organization made up of 250 leading and largest companies, post-secondary institutions and industry organizations from across B.C.'s diverse economy. The Council produces exceptional public policy research and advocacy in support of creating a competitive economy for the benefit of all British Columbians.
Director, External and Strategic Communications