'No new oil and gas,' says NDP candidate Svend Robinson
Published Tuesday, January 22, 2019 9:15PM EST
Former New Democrat MP Svend Robinson is returning to politics after 15 years away, and he’s making opposition to oil and gas a key part of his pitch.
Robinson, 66, has been nominated as the NDP candidate in Burnaby North—Seymour, the Vancouver-area riding where the Trans Mountain pipeline’s products are loaded onto ships. The federal government nationalized the Trans Mountain pipeline last year in the hopes of ensuring the troubled expansion project can go ahead.
Robinson, who previously served as an MP from 1979 to 2004, told CTV’s Power Play on Tuesday that he believes there should be no new oil or gas infrastructure allowed.
“We have to recognize that fossil fuels and any new pipelines, any new infrastructure is taking us down a road to climate disaster,” Robinson said, pointing to the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“This is an industry which we have to recognize is on its way out,” he added. “We’ve got to leave most of the oil and gas in the ground and we’ve got to move to the renewable energy.”
“That means no new infrastructure, no new oil and gas, and most importantly respecting hereditary Indigenous people–for example the Wet’suwet’en–who are saying we don’t want this,” he went on.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is also opposed to the Trans Mountain expansion project, but has given tentative support to the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern B.C. that is opposed by Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.
Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Canada needs to transition away from fossil fuels but that the transition will take decades and Canada needs more pipelines to get its oil and gas to markets overseas in the meantime. He has also imposed a carbon tax on industry and consumers, in the hopes of reducing emissions.
Robinson chastised the prime minister for his position. “What the Liberals are doing is saying, ‘Well we have carbon taxes, that’s going to make a difference.’ At the same time they’re shovelling money at the oil and gas industry.”
Singh attended Robinson’s nomination meeting on Saturday, where the crowd erupted into cheers after Robinson advocated “the path of socialism, democratic socialism.” Environmentalist David Suzuki was also in attendance.
Robinson made headlines in 1988 as the first openly gay MP. He resigned in 2004 after admitting to the theft of an expensive ring valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. He blamed the incident on a form of bipolar disorder.