PM sells Trans Mountain pipeline as Amazon announces expansion in Vancouver

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promoted the expansion of retail giant Amazon’s technology hub in Vancouver on Monday as he used the region’s record-high gas prices to continue selling the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promoted the expansion of retail giant Amazon’s technology hub in Vancouver on Monday as he used the region’s record-high gas prices to continue selling the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“I know that part of the challenge that folks across the Lower Mainland and B.C. are facing right now is related to the fact that we are connected so closely to the U.S. market and to what happens in the United States,” Trudeau said as the price of gas exceeded $1.60 a litre in the Vancouver area.

Canada currently ships oil only to the United States and loses about $15 billion annually by not exporting it to other markets through an expanded pipeline, he said.

“That level of dependency at any time would be difficult but right now at a time of protectionism and unpredictability in the United States it makes sense to diversify our markets to new markets across Asia,” Trudeau said.

“We know that the alternative to a new pipeline would be more oil by rail, more oil by trucks. That’s not what anybody wants.”

British Columbia’s former Liberal government approved the pipeline project, but the current NDP government has asked the province’s highest court to determine if B.C. has the power to enact environmental laws that would restrict the flow of diluted bitumen through the province.

Getting the pipeline twinned involves “collaboration and respect for the provinces,” Trudeau said. “We’ve moved forward in a partnership way right across the country and we’ve demonstrated that we understand that the national interest involves getting our resources responsibly to new markets but it also involves, for example, putting a price on carbon pollution right across Canada.”

Trudeau said such incentives, along with lower-emissions vehicles and public-transit investments, lead to a cleaner environment and further economic growth, with projects such the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Related: B.C. blasted for Trans Mountain pipeline tactics

It was a day of talking commerce for the prime minister, who attended an announcement about Amazon’s expansion in Vancouver and said innovation will help drive economic growth and improve the lives of middle-class Canadians.

He also said he’s optimistic that the United States understands extending aluminum and steel tariffs to Canada would be a bad idea for the economies of both countries. The U.S. was expected to impose tariffs internationally on Tuesday.

Before Trudeau spoke, Amazon’s general manager of web services Jesse Dougherty said the company would build a 38,000-square-metre tower on the site of Vancouver’s old post office headquarters.

He said 3,000 new employees working there in high-tech positions would be focusing on e-commerce technology, cloud computing and machine learning.

The building’s architectural heritage will be preserved, and the tower is expected to open in 2022, Dougherty said inside the former Canada Post building.

“We chose to build and grow in Canada because we recognize the diverse and exceptionally talented workforce here,” he said.

“As a homegrown British Columbian and a software engineer, I am so proud of living and working in a city that is recognized worldwide as a first-rate global tech hub.”

Seattle-based Amazon opened its first software development site in Vancouver in 2011 and now has more than 1,000 employees.

Dougherty said the company will build on its relationships with top Canadian universities, which he said are producing some of the best computer engineering students in the world.

“We’ve hired many graduates from schools right here in British Columbia,” he said, citing the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University as well as the universities of Toronto, Waterloo, and McGill.

Premier John Horgan said Amazon’s expansion in Vancouver is evidence that the province is a sound place to invest, though that has been questioned in connection with B.C.’s legal action involving the Trans Mountain expansion as it asks its highest court to determine whether it has authority to control shipments of diluted bitumen through the province.

“This investment will advance B.C.’s well-earned reputation as an innovation hub and will promote growth in all sectors of our economy, in all regions,” Horgan said in a joint statement with Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston.

Amazon is expected to announce its second North American headquarters, dubbed HQ2, sometime this year, with Toronto as the only Canadian city on the list of 20 finalists.

Related: Trudeau says Trans Mountain pipeline will go through

Related: B.C. city sends message of support on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Haida Gwaii seabird conservation highlighted at international congress

Bird Studies Canada’s David Bradley is co-convening a symposium on biosecurity for island species

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Ferry sailing delayed after divers check Northern Adventure

Divers called in to check propeller shaft, sailing to Haida Gwaii now 140 minutes behind

Haida Gwaii fishery staff gear up for marine mammal rescues

Haida fishery guardians and DFO fishery officers better equipped to rescue marine mammals

B.C. team stays alive in Little League World Series after another nail-biter

Surrey-based squad scored a 6-4 win over Mexico reps in Williamsport on Monday

Kids, seniors at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says children’s lungs don’t fully develop until about age 10

B.C. mother charged in 7-year-old daughter’s death appears in court

The 36-year-old mother, of Langley’s Aaliyah Rosa, has been charged with second-degree murder

VIDEO: Teen soccer phenomenon Alphonso Davies to visit B.C. kids camp

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecap player is one of the youngest players in MLS history

New plan to lift more than two million people past the poverty line

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

Liberals scrap lottery system for reuniting immigrants with their parents

Lottery for parent sponsorship to be replaced, more applications to be accepted

Bear kills off-leash dog in B.C. park

There have been nearly 200 pet or livestock and bear encounters so far this year

Most Read