NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he would work with Indigenous communities on national energy projects but is stopping short of saying they would have veto power on pipelines if his party forms the next government.
Singh was questioned about the issue in an interview with The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson, which aired Sunday, after making headlines earlier this week for his comments on the topic.
Asked if he would give Indigenous peoples a veto over national energy projects, Singh said, “I would respect them and give them dignity.”
Pressed about whether that’s a veto, Singh said it would be a “collaborative approach.”
Asked again, Singh said, “No, it’s more working with communities to make sure that they get things done in a way that respects their authority and their autonomy,” he said. “It would be in line with prior informed consent. So that’s what I would do, absolutely.”
Singh has spoken out against the proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries oil from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C., the city of Singh’s riding.
In his conversation with Stephenson, Singh suggested he isn’t opposed to pipelines on principle, however. Asked if he would support the building of any oil-carrying pipeline, he outlined three criteria.
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“One, it would have to fit within the environmental regulations, protection of the environment and also our plans to reduce emissions,” he said.
“So if that was satisfied, the second very important criteria is that it has to create jobs for Canadians and be something that’s not a resource extraction and a rip-and-ship type of project, one that creates value-added jobs,” he continued.
“And finally, and most importantly, it’d have to be a bill that has the acceptance of the community, and whether that is because of Indigenous community rights or because of local communities, it has to be something that is in line with the vision of a community that’s being impacted.”
The four main parties are pitching various approaches to pipelines ahead of the federal election on Oct. 21.
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The NDP, which has campaigned heavily on combating climate change, has proposed creating a clean-energy corridor — basically an east-west power grid that would allow provinces that produce more electricity than they use to ship it to other provinces that need more.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has pitched a plan to build a national energy corridor, which would carry oil, gas, hydroelectricity and telecommunications from coast to coast. He said the project would benefit the environment and the oil-and-gas-sector.
Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline last year. The Liberals, who have committed to stronger emissions reduction goals in this election, say that the project’s profits would go towards initiatives to fight climate change.
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Elizabeth May of the Green Party has said she would cancel pipeline projects and transition the country to a carbon-free electricity grid.
Should Canadians elect a minority government, she said the Greens wouldn’t prop up any party that supports pipelines.
With files from the Canadian Press and Amanda Connolly, Global News