Calgary

Nenshi's pipeline war of words with Vancouver mayor continues

The oil may not be moving yet but one thing flowing across the Rockies west to British Columbia is Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi's stinging criticism of his Vancouver counterpart.

Calgary mayor is accusing Gregor Robertson of 'shotgun approach' to Trans Mountain

Mayor Naheed Nenshi laid into Gregor Robertson again over the Trans Mountain pipeline on the Eyeopener on CBC radio Wednesday morning. (CBC)

The oil may not be moving yet but one thing flowing across the Rockies west to British Columbia is Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi's stinging criticism of his Vancouver counterpart.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday calling the National Energy Board's approval of the proposed twinning of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline "flawed and biased."

Nenshi called Robertson's letter "really overblown" and accused Robertson of making questionable claims about the potential consequences of a pipeline spill, and impact on Vancouver's job market and green brand.

Robertson feels the NEB ignored the impact a potential spill would have on Vancouver's economy when it approved Kinder Morgan's plan late last month to twin the pipeline they already operate between Edmonton and Burnaby.

"When you look at the tourism jobs, 30,000 tourism jobs in Vancouver, all the ocean-based industry that we have, all of that would be at great risk," he said.

'Shotgun approach'

Calgary's mayor wasn't letting up Wednesday, disputing Robertson's understanding of the pipeline and the NEB's process.

"I'm not sure Mayor Robertson has actually read the NEB report, because I have," said Nenshi speaking on the Calgary Eyeopener Wednesday morning.

"What's happened here I think is that Mayor Robertson, frustrated that his arguments — which were not very strong to begin with — did not hold water at the NEB, is trying a Hail Mary pass and this shotgun approach that it's about the economy, or climate change, or safety, but these are all things in fact that the NEB did consider."

Nenshi said the issue isn't so much the interference, but "it's the fearmongering." 

"If he thinks that having a port in his city damages the clean and green environment then he needs to shut down the port."

American angle

Nenshi also countered Robertson's argument that the pipeline will send oil profits south of the border.

"Kinder Morgan doesn't own the oil, so again, not really a great argument and kind of a funny one from a guy whose biggest industries are owned by Americans as well."

Nenshi says he's just speaking on behalf of industry and prosperity for the country and simply wants the regulator to be allowed to do its job.

He says he's spoken to Robertson about the issue, and even gave Robertson a fake jar of bitumen as a going away present when he stepped down from the big city mayors' caucus earlier this year.

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