Burnaby politicians call on federal government to cover pipeline protest costs
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2019 10:51AM PDT Last Updated Wednesday, July 3, 2019 6:45PM PDT
Peter Julian, MP for New Westminster-Burnaby is calling on Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to commit to repaying the City of Burnaby the estimated $1.8 million in policing costs resulting from protests of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
The costs in dispute are the overtime accrued by RCMP officers since 2014 while policing the Trans Mountain protests.
At a news conference Wednesday, Julian characterized the pipeline protests as "major events" and said policing for major events is the responsibility of the federal government. Referring to the Burnaby Municipal Policing Agreement, Julian said Canada is liable to pay 100 per cent of the costs including salaries, transportation and maintenance for the duration of the event.
"The reality is the federal government is responsible for these costs. It is irresponsible for them to stick the citizens of Burnaby with the bill," added Julian.
Burnaby Coun. Sav Dhaliwal said Burnaby has been receiving bills for the extra policing since 2014. The last tally at the end of 2017 placed the bill at $1.2 million. He estimated that has now grown to $1.8 million.
"We are not paying a penny of this," Dhaliwal said. "Council has been clear. None of this belongs to the property tax owners in Burnaby. It will be paid by the proponent of the project."
Dhaliwal believed the protests are not an everyday policing responsibility and said they are an emergency in terms of a major event.
"This is ground-zero for this pipeline. We know that there will be a lot more protests," he said.
The federal government approved the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion for a second time on June 18.
July 4 update: CTV News Vancouver reached out to Public Safety Canada and heard back Thursday. Here's the latest.