James Moore now Industry Minister as pipeline push looms

PM Harper gives top federal minister in B.C. new role ahead of oil debate

The elevation of James Moore to Industry Minister is viewed as a sign Prime Minister Stephen Harper will look to his senior B.C. minister to help convince the province to accept contentious new oil pipelines.

The Conservative MP for Port Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam rose from Heritage Minister in a federal cabinet shuffle announced Monday.

SFU political science professor Patrick Smith said he’s not surprised Moore has been promoted, calling him one of the government’s top performers in the House of Commons.

But Smith said the move also strongly suggests Harper and National Resources Joe Oliver – who stays in his post – will press the provincial government to agree to either the Kinder Morgan or Northern Gateway pipeline projects to allow a crucial Pacific outlet for Alberta oil.

“They’re going to want a strong ally in the B.C. minister, which could cause him some of his own difficulties,” Smith said. “British Columbians, as a general rule, are not in favour [of oil pipelines].”

He described the bigger role for Moore as one that brings more opportunities, but also more risk if Ottawa’s energy development agenda unfolds badly in B.C.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has insisted any new oil pipeline must meet five provincial conditions, including world-class land and marine safety provisions, the addressing of aboriginal issues and a share of benefits for B.C.

Smith said Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline twinning is more likely to proceed than Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project, because Trans Mountain is already twinned along a third of the corridor, it faces less First Nations opposition and it uses an established tanker route and an existing land right-of-way.

“I would think if you’re Stephen Harper and Joe Oliver and you’re going to push it, that’s the one you’re going to push.”

Most other B.C. faces in the Harper cabinet are unchanged. The most notable shift was that of Delta-Richmond East MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay from associate minister of national defence to National Revenue Minister.

Abbotsford MP Ed Fast remains International Trade Minister, while Richmond MP Alice Wong stays on as Minister of State for Seniors.

John Duncan (Vancouver Island-North) had resigned from cabinet in February after writing an inappropriate character reference letter but returns now as whip.

Other changes in the federal cabinet shuffle see Peter MacKay become Justice Minister and Attorney-General and Rob Nicholson become Defence Minister – the two swapped jobs.

Steven Blaney is the new Public Safety Minister, replacing the retiring Vic Toews.

Leona Aglukkaq, the former health minister, becomes Environment Minister, while Rona Ambrose takes over at health.

Lisa Raitt is now Transportation Minister, while former revenue minister Gail Shea is back in her old role as Fisheries Minister. Bernard Valcourt keeps the aboriginal affairs portfolio.

Just Posted

Rossland Public Library receives over $80,000 toward renewal project

The library has received a second grant worth over $80,000 towards its renewal project.

Rossland Council approves rezoning for two new developments at Red

Rossland City Council approved two bylaws regarding new developments out at Red Mountain.

Rossland Citizen Budget results are in

The results from Citizen Budget were released to the public at the end of last month.

Quiet start to 2018 for South Columbia Search and Rescue

South Columbia members are focusing on updating training

Updated: Kootenay communities benefit from gas tax dollars

The project is one of 112 approved in B.C. communities this year

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Search continues for 10-year-old Montreal boy missing since Monday

Montreal police said they are exploring every possibility in search for Ariel Jeffrey Kouakou

Airline passenger-rights bill claws back protections for travellers: Advocate

Bill C-49 would double tarmac delays, scrap compensation for flights affected by mechanical failures

Canadian research vessel to explore 19th Century shipwrecks

Commissioned this week in Victoria, the RV David Thompson is Parks Canada’s newest vessel

VIDEO: ‘New wave’ of anti-pipeline protests return to Trans Mountain facility

About 100 demonstrators with Protect the Inlet marched to the Burnaby terminal Saturday

B.C. man to plead guilty in connection with hit-and-run that killed teen

Jason Gourlay charged with failure to stop at the scene of accident, attempting to obstruct justice

Rescue boat theft marks third in 3 years for B.C. SAR team

Eight-metre Spirit of Harrison rescue vessel was stolen Friday night, found Saturday morning

Most Read