May 30, 2018 12:41 pm

Trans Mountain pipeline remains divisive topic in Saskatchewan

Climate Justice Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce weigh in on the federal government's purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

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The federal government’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan doesn’t seem to have changed many opinions about the project.

Climate Justice Saskatoon said their concerns remain when it comes to climate change, spill risks and job creation.

READ MORE: Ottawa inks deal to buy Trans Mountain pipeline project for $4.5B

Mark Bigland-Pritchard said the amount of bitumen produced from existing projects already exceeds the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.

“This is about people’s lives, it’s about people’s homes. Being able to continue to live throughout the world. Climate change is a real threat,” Bigland-Pritchard said Wednesday.

WATCH BELOW: Climate Justice Saskatoon opposed to feds buying Trans Mountain pipeline


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The risk of pipeline spills is also a concern.

“Pipelines always spill. We don’t know what’s going to happen when bitumen spills into tidewater, into salt water we just don’t know the science isn’t there,” Bigland-Pritchard said.

READ MORE: Key dates in the history of the Trans Mountain pipeline

The government says the pipeline will create more than 15,000 jobs. Bigland-Pritchard argued more jobs could be created moving towards a green economy.

“We’ve got to be off fossil fuels by mid-century for the sake of the climate and the good thing about that is it creates lots of good jobs whether that’s in home insulation or renewables, public transit, creating the infrastructure for electric vehicles.”

It’s an opinion that’s not shared by Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce CEO Darla Lindbjerg, who said governments need to make sure the economy is front and centre.

“The economy in general we’re concerned about jobs. There are a lot of jobs in Saskatchewan that are either directly affected by the pipeline or indirectly affected by the pipeline.”

WATCH BELOW: Trans Mountain pipeline expansion good for Saskatchewan: Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce

Referencing Evraz Steel in Regina, Lindbjerg said all the previous pipeline uncertainty caused the steel giant to make threats about its continued operations in Canada, a decision that would have resulted in more than 1,000 jobs being lost.

“We are a resource based economy, so this is very important for us.”

READ MORE: Industry reaction mixed over Trans Mountain pipeline buyout

If there’s one point of unity it’s that, moving forward, both parties will be watching this very closely.

“We need to see a detailed plan laid out,” Lindbjerg said. “We need to make sure our members, businesses, communities and families are looked after.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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