Trudeau announces new Kinder Morgan route, Broadway SkyTrain

Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Kinder Morgan is applying for a re-route of their TransMountain pipeline that currently runs from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. He also announced conditional federal funding for an expanded SkyTrain line to be run in a tunnel under Broadway in Vancouver.

“We have heard criticisms over the past few days since announcing the approval of the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline, specificially concerning the increase in oil tanker traffic in Burrard Inlet and tunnelling through Burnaby Mountain. We remain committed to acting in the best interests of Canada, and remain committed to rigorous environmental protections for our lands and waters.

“We have also received applications for federal funding to expand Vancouver’s SkyTrain system to service the Broadway corridor. This region of Vancouver is an important one, not just for the City of Vancouver, but for all of Metro Vancouver. It is an important commercial district, it is an important healthcare district, and students and employees of the largest university in Western Canada travel it every day. Congestion along this corridor causes pollution and reduces the quality of life of everybody who travels it. Easing this congestion with proven SkyTrain technology will help everybody.

“These reasons are why I’m announcing conditional federal funding of a bored tunnel under Broadway that will contain both SkyTrain and the re-routed Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline.”

The SkyTrain will run from Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain Station to Alma Street, where it will terminate at a bus loop. The TransMountain pipeline will be tunnelled under Highway One to Broadway, under Broadway to Alma, then curve north to a new marine delivery terminal at Jericho Beach.

“By building a new marine delivery terminal at Jericho,” Trudeau said, “tankers will avoid the busy Burrard Inlet and Lions Gate Bridge crossing. This terminal will also be located closer to the Kitsilano Coast Guard Station — which I re-opened, you’re welcome — for quicker response to any emergencies.”

“Mayor Corrigan should also be pleased that the pipeline will no longer be going under Burnaby Mountain and that tankers will no longer be sailing via the environmentally significant Burrard Inlet.”

“We have listened to the concerns of Mayors Robertson and Corrigan. We have listened to the concerns of the First Nations. We have listened to the concerns of all citizens of Canada, and we have acted accordingly.”

“We hope they’re happy now,” said Trudeau.

Where is Chloe Ellis?

Chloe Ellis, we miss you. Sure, I’m writing while you’re at the only meet-the-candidates event you’ve participated in in New Westminster, but you’ve skipped every other one (including the two that I went to), you didn’t answer the local paper’s questions, and even worse, you didn’t answer my questions. Egregious!

But we all know you’re busy. You haven’t said what you’re busy doing when you’re too busy to meet with people you’d like to vote for you, so that’s up for speculation.

So let’s speculate! Here are the reasons I thought up that would make you too busy to show up to meet your voters:

  1. Skydiving to deliver the game ball for the Hyacks Football homecoming game.
  2. Lobbying the Competition Bureau so New Westminster finally gets a Save-On-Foods. (HEY SHUT UP THIS JOKE NEVER GETS OLD)
  3. Recording another music video.
  4. You refuse to answer anybody who doesn’t put the acute accent into Chloé Ellis.
  5. Lining up for a sweet new iPhone 6s Plus.
  6. Reading over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, but sorry, she’s unable to tell anybody about it.
  7. Conspiring with all the other Conservative no-shows in planning a massive victory party for Stephen Harper.
  8. Lining up for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  9. Trying to hack the polls to make the Conservatives look better.
  10. Scouring the local thrift shops to find a red trenchcoat for that perfect Halloween costume.

Sasha Ramnarine Answers New West-Burnaby MP Questions

Sasha Ramnarine is the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for New Westminster-Burnaby, hoping to represent us all on a federal level, and he answered my questions to the Member of Parliament candidates.

And remember, the questions (and probably answers) are satire, so if you take them out of context, bad things will happen.

Also, thank you very much Mr. Ramnarine for answering my questions!

The City of New Westminster used to be represented federally by two Members of Parliament (Peter Julian for Burnaby-New Westminster and Fin Donnelly for New Westminster-Coquitlam). Now that New West is only going to have one MP, what will you do to ensure your voice is at least twice as loud as everybody else?

Sasha Ramnarine: I live in New Westminster and I am deeply committed to ensuring the issues of the riding are addressed in Ottawa. I represent the middle class. I didn’t grow up with a lot of money. Since the age of nine working in my family’s restaurant, I have worked hard to ensure that I could pay for my education. I worked close to 50 hours a week through university to ensure I get the quality education that I wanted. I’m passionate about my community and social justice, and have worked and advocated for drinking water rights for First Nations, youth on the Downtown Eastside and mentoring new immigrants to Canada. I represent the challenges and opportunities for middle class Canadians, particularly those in our riding. This is the kind of perseverance and passion I will take to Ottawa as Member of Parliament for New Westminster-Burnaby if elected.

As everybody in New Westminster knows, we have an abundance of Save-On-Foods grocery stores, a situation created by the Competition Bureau. As the Competition Bureau is a federal intitution, what will you do as New Westminster’s federal representative to eliminate all non-Save-On-Foods stores in New West?

Sasha Ramnarine: I will always consult with local residents to ensure what is best for our community. If that means supporting our local small businesses, for example, I will use my strong experience as an entrepreneur, small business lawyer, and chair for the Small Business Council events committee to support and help grow our local small businesses.

Over the past few years we have seen two high-profile protests related to federal projects on New Westminster’s borders: the expansion of Fraser Surrey Docks to ship coal and the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Neither of these projects actually happen in New Westminster, which leads me to my question: which controversial federal project will you bring to New Westminster so we can have our own home-grown protests?

Sasha Ramnarine: The lack of infrastructure investments and lack of partnership by the current Federal Government to our local municipalities.

I have a plan to work with the provincial government and municipalities to make bold infrastructure investments for road improvements, replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, more buses, increased Skytrain service and more cycling infrastructure.

Assuming your party forms the government, what will you do to bring the Prime Minster to New Westminister?

Sasha Ramnarine: If elected, I will ensure that Prime Minister Trudeau visits New Westminster as soon as possible. The best time would be when infrastructure projects are announced for our riding. I will also take him to a few local businesses where I enjoy awesome food!

How much money will your party pledge to replace the Pattullo Bridge, knowing full well that we just had a referendum (sorry, non-binding plebescite) where we rejected a tax increase that would supply the municipalities’ third of the pot and any promised federal money wouldn’t get spent anyhow? Three hundred million dollars? Five hundred million dollars? ELEVENTY TRILLION DOLLARS???

Sasha Ramnarine: We will boost investment in public transportation projects by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over ten years. Our funding will be flexible to the requirements of New Westminster and Burnaby, and surrounding areas, in order to maximize the number of better public transit projects, and better roads. Federal funding will no longer be a roadblock to action to building the Pattulo Bridge and implementing other projects.

When you vote Conservative, remember my neighbours

I live in a housing co-operative. Back in the mid-1980s our co-op entered an operating agreement with the federal government that provided partial funding to subsidize the rent for low-income households. To this day, we receive some money that helps offset the rent for low-income people living in our co-op. It’s not a lot of money: last year we received about $38,000 and this year we’ll receive about $37,000.

This money is solely to support low-income households. If your income is above a certain threshold (for a two-bedroom household, this is about $45,000) then you can’t even apply for assistance. Some of my neighbours rely on this help, as they’re on fixed incomes like disability or retirement. They literally can’t get more money to pay for rent, so this housing assistance is sorely needed.

In 2019 our operating agreement with the federal government comes to an end. The Conservatives have said that when these agreements are over, they’re over. They won’t be renewed. The federal subsidy will come to an end, and our co-op will be faced with telling our neighbours their rents will be raised to market rates. Our fixed-income neighbours will have to pay 60% of their income on housing, which they can’t afford, and they’ll be forced to move from their homes.

This is playing out across the country. We’re one housing co-op. There are over 250 in British Columbia with more than 14,500 households. Across Canada there are more than 2,200 co-ops with over 90,000 households. The vast majority of these co-ops will see their federal funding come to an end over the next decade, meaning thousands of people will be faced with the choice between large rent hikes or homelessness.

The federal election is key for fixing this. Of the four major parties, only the Conservatives offer no help for low-income families. The NDP have pledged to renew the operating agreements. The Liberals have pledged to renew the operating agreements. The Greens have pleged to re-establish funding for housing co-operatives.

The Conservatives would let the operating agreements lapse, leaving low-income households to lose their homes.

So remember, when you mark an X next to your Conservative candidate, remember the thousands of people who will have their rents go up by 30-50%. Remember the thousands of people across the country who will have to choose between a roof over their heads or food on the table. Remember the thousands of people who will be forced into hidden homelessness or onto the streets.

When you vote Conservative, remember my neighbours.

Where is Chloe Ellis?

Chloe Ellis is the Conservative Party of Canada’s candidate in the riding of New Westminster—Burnaby for the 2015 Federal Election.

At least, that’s what Elections Canada says.

If you ask anybody in New Westminster who’s shown up to all-candidates meetings they’d tell you there isn’t a Conservative candidate.

And that’s because Ms. Ellis has yet to show up.

It’s a theme that’s playing out across the country: Conservative candidates and their managers either give reporters the run-around or don’t show up to all-candidates meetings (in Saskatoon, Prince George and Williams Lake, Calgary, and London, to take four examples). There’s a cone of silence dropped upon them from up high, and it really pisses me off.

It’s undemocratic. Hell, I’d say it’s anti-democratic. It spits in the face of why we’re having these elections. We’re voting on people to represent us, the citizens, in the House of Commons. They’re supposed to be responsible to us, and part of being responsible is actually showing up to speak with and listen to your constituents.

It’s disrespectful. Organizers of all-candidates meetings put in hours to get everybody set up. They set the agenda, reserve a space to hold the meeting, set up equipment, advertise, and do a lot more behind the scenes. It’s not easy, and it’s all volunteer time. And then there are the people who show up at the meeting to ask questions and hear what the candidates have to say. By not showing up to the meetings, Conservative candidates are wasting everybody’s time, and when you have 70 people showing up, and lots more following along at home through Twitter, that’s a lot of time you’re wasting and a lot of people you’re disrespecting.

It’s cowardly. The House of Commons is a venue for debate. For someone to want to be there, yet avoid debate in their own city, that just shows that they don’t really care at all about the people they want to represent, all they want is that plum job. They want to be a faithful back-bencher, collecting the $167,000 per year salary. Debate? What’s that?

I reject the premise that the blame for this behaviour falls squarely on the Conservative party. Yes, Ms. Ellis is young and inexperienced. So is Kyle Routledge, but he shows up. So is Sasha Ramnarine, but he shows up. (This is where Mr. Ramnarine thanks me for calling him young.) Neither of them are expected to win, but they show up. They answer questions, they shake hands, they talk with people, even though neither of them has experience being a politician.

No, Ms. Ellis takes the blame here. She is the candidate. She put her name forward. She wants to represent us in Ottawa. And she is the one who ultimately decides what she does. She can have backbone and say to her handler “I’m going to this event.” And I completely understand that if she did show some backbone and stood up for herself that she’d probably lose some kind of perks that come along with toeing the party line.

But that doesn’t excuse her invisibility. That doesn’t excuse her disrespect. That doesn’t excuse her from her responsibilities towards the people she wants to vote for her. Her entire job is based upon representing her constituents, and to disrespect your constituents just so you might gain some favor with the party? To hell with that.