Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers remarks and holds a media availability at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa.

Ottawa, Ontario
November 30, 2016

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Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for taking the time to join us today.

Just over a year ago, Canadians elected a new government. Their marching orders for us were clear: build an economy that works for me and my family, and protect the environment so we can leave a better, cleaner country to our kids.

Voters rejected the old thinking that what is good for the economy is bad for the environment. They embraced the idea that we need strong environmental policies if we expect to develop our natural resources and get them to international markets.

Canadians know that strong action on the environment is good for the economy. It makes us more competitive, by fostering innovation and reducing pollution. Canadians value clean air and water, beautiful coasts and wilderness, and refuse to accept that they must be compromised in order to create growth.

We agree.

Since last November, we have worked hard to put in place a policy that gives life to these values. A new policy that we believe will create good middle class jobs, and protect the environment for our kids and grandkids.

We approved natural resource projects that meet the highest standards of environmental protection.

We created a policy to put a price on pollution, and an Ocean Protection Plan to preserve our coasts.

And we just announced our intention to phase out coal-powered electricity in Canada by 2030, all while expanding clean power sources. This phase out will prevent more than 1,000 premature deaths and save taxpayers billions of dollars in health costs.

We are doing all of this because we know the world is changing, and Canada must change with it. Climate change is real. It is here. And it cannot be wished or voted away.

Canadians know this, and they know we need to transition to a clean energy economy. We owe it to ourselves to make our economy more competitive, and to our kids to leave them a cleaner environment.

But we also know that this transition will take investment, and it won’t happen in a day. We need to create good jobs and strong growth to pay for it.

Canada is a country rich in energy of all kinds. Conventional and renewable. The energy of today and tomorrow. That is a unique and tremendously positive place to be in the world.

I have said many times that there isn’t a country in the world that would find billions of barrels of oil and leave it in the ground while there is a market for it.

But it isn’t enough to just use that resource for our short-term interest.

Our challenge is to use today’s wealth to create tomorrow’s opportunity. Ultimately, this is about leaving a better country for our kids than the one we inherited from our parents.

Today, we are taking a strong step in that direction.

We are here to announce the Government of Canada’s decisions on major energy projects, and the fulfillment of some very significant commitments we made to Canadians during last fall’s election campaign.

We said that major pipelines could only get built if we had a price on carbon, and strong environmental protections in place. We said that Indigenous peoples must be respected, and be a part of the process.  We also said that we would only approve projects that could be built and run safely.

And that’s how we’ve come to our decisions today.

First, the Government of Canada has approved the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

This pipeline will twin a line that has been in operation since 1953, which extends from Edmonton, Alberta, to Burnaby, British Columbia. The project will effectively triple our capacity to get Canadian energy resources to international markets beyond the Unites States.

It will create 15,000 new, middle class jobs – the majority of them in the trades. This major initiative will get hardworking Canadians back to work, put food on the table for middle class families, and grow and strengthen our communities.

It will give much needed new hope to thousands of hard-working people in Alberta’s conventional energy sector, who have suffered a great deal over the past few years.

Aside from the many and obvious economic benefits, we approved this project because it meets the strictest of environmental standards, and fits within our national climate plan.

We will require that Kinder Morgan meet or exceed all 157 of the binding conditions set out by the National Energy Board. These conditions address potential impacts on Indigenous communities, the protection of local wildlife, and the offset of greenhouse gas emissions during construction.

And let me say this definitively: We could not have approved this project without the leadership of Premier Notley, and Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan – a plan that commits to pricing carbon and capping oilsands emissions at 100 megatonnes per year.

We want to be clear on this point, because it is important and sometimes not well understood. Alberta’s climate plan is a vital contributor to our national strategy. It has been rightly celebrated as a major step forward by industry and the environmental community.

It caps emissions from oilsands over the mid-term, but allows for production to increase from present levels. Today, Canada’s pipelines are operating at full capacity. That means any significant new production must find another way to get to market. Those modes of transport are less safe than pipelines.

Indeed, we know that new, state of the art pipelines provide the safest route to get our resources to market. This is not an argument. It is a fact. So from this perspective, creating new pipeline capacity is the most responsible decision we could make to ensure public safety and mitigate risk.   

We also could not approve this project without the best in class marine safety standards and capability we are putting in place through the Government of Canada’s new Oceans Protection Plan. The Trans Mountain expansion will increase vessel traffic in the Burrard Inlet by 13% overall, and the Oceans Protection Plan will make sure that any risk coming from increased vessel traffic in Burrard Inlet is properly mitigated.

We understand — and share — the deep and abiding sense of responsibility British Columbians feel for our spectacular west coast. Indeed, it is a personal issue for me. I spent much of my childhood on the coast and on the water with my grandparents. I worked and lived in BC for years as a teacher.

Now, I have heard and listened very carefully to the many diverse perspectives that exist in BC on this project. Indeed, one of its most articulate and substantive critics is a caucus colleague, Terry Beech.

Others will be opposed to this project for their own reasons. We respect that, and we respect their right to hold and voice their beliefs.

But to them — and to all Canadians — I want to say this: if I thought this project was unsafe for the BC coast, I would reject it. This is a decision based on rigorous debate, on science and on evidence. We have not been and will not be swayed by political arguments -- be they local, regional or national.

We have made this decision because we are convinced it is safe for BC, and it is the right one for Canada. It is a major win for Canadian workers, Canadian families, and the Canadian economy.

Second, we have also approved the Line 3 Replacement Project.

This project replaces over 1,000km of an existing pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Gretna, Manitoba. It will create 7,000 new, good jobs for tradespeople. It will be required to meet or exceed 37 binding conditions from the National Energy Board.

Fundamentally, this is a safety issue.

On Line 3, the reality is this: This aging pipeline is in dire need of replacement. Once completed, this new infrastructure will increase efficiency, improve workplace and environmental safety, and ensure that the latest technology is in place to prevent leaks.

Trans Mountain’s unique strategic value is it will give traditional Canadian energy resources access to international markets beyond the United States. Line 3 will renew aging infrastructure to ensure we can continue to supply resources to our most important and valued trading partner.

Taken together, these projects will create thousands of good, middle class jobs for Canadians. They’ll also generate billions of dollars in government revenue at all levels.

That’s money that can be invested in our hospitals, roads, and clean energy initiatives.

These projects have received government approval because they meet our standards on the environment. But not all pipelines meet these strict criteria.

Today, we are also announcing that the Government of Canada has directed the National Energy Board to dismiss the application for the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project.

It has become clear that this project is not in the best interests of the local affected communities, including Indigenous peoples.

The Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline, and the Douglas Channel is no place for oil tanker traffic.

Even before we formed government, we were clear about our intentions to protect the Great Bear Rainforest and Sea. This unique and beautiful ecosystem thrives with diverse wildlife, and supplies an abundant and sustainable economy to the tens of thousands of people who depend on its health. It is a jewel of Canada’s west coast.

Finally, I am also pleased to announce that we will keep our commitment to implement a moratorium on crude oil tanker shipping on British Columbia’s north coast.

After consulting at length with people who live and work there – including Indigenous partners – we’ve heard firsthand how detrimental crude oil tanker traffic is to this region.

Very shortly, we’ll introduce legislation to make this tanker moratorium the law.

As a grandson of BC, I strongly believe that this moratorium – coupled with the rejection of the Northern Gateway Pipeline – is the right call for the people of this province, and for Canada.

The four decisions we’ve announced today were all made after rigorous consultation and examination of the evidence.

We believe they will help provide the growth and resources we need to spur Canada’s clean energy transition. We believe they prove that responsible resource development can go hand in hand with strong environmental protection.

We believe they are safe, responsible and in the interest of all Canadians.

Most importantly, we believe they will help achieve the vital mission Canadians sent us here to achieve: to make progress. To leave a cleaner, more prosperous country to our kids than the one we inherited from our parents.

These Decisions reflect a true team effort, and we are very much looking forward to taking your questions.