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

White Rock RCMP seeking information about Aug. 16 assault

Man in 60s was injured around same time Paul Prestbakmo was stabbed to death

New recovery house rules, increased funding aim to prevent overdose tragedy

Changes ‘speak to issues’ highlighted by death of South Surrey’s Zachary Plett

Police hope to speak with witnesses from fatal 2017 stabbing in Surrey

Wally Rogers was stabbed outside his home near 88th Avenue and 144th Street on July 8, 2017

Surrey RCMP say municipal force approval a ‘challenging time’ for detachment

Province green lit the plan, joint committee for transition to be established

Police watchdog seeking witnesses in officer-involved Surrey shooting

This is the fourth incident within a one-week period that IIO is investigating

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Memorial to deceased teen stays in place through Labour Day

Hundreds of tributes have been left at the Walnut Grove skate park

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

Most Read