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

CRD commission votes against alternate Malahat route through watershed

Commission voted unanimously after several speakers at meeting

Victoria parking fees bring in more than $17 million every year

Parking fees make up seven per cent of the city’s annual revenue

Deer study using collars, cameras under watchful eyes outside of Victoria

Method ‘could revolutionize how we go about doing wildlife studies of this kind,’ says scientist

Geography among factors behind Saanich’s place on worst intersection list

Site of McKenzie Interchange Project ranks as worst intersection on Vancouver Island

Town clock back on the Ave. in Oak Bay

A computer failure discovered after daylight savings in Nov. sent the clock in for upgrades

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

B.C. man in wheelchair following police shooting

“Shots were fired by police and the Kelowna man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.”

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

From a drunk judge to Clifford Olson: George Garrett recounts a life in B.C. news radio

New book from ‘Intrepid Reporter’ George Garrett offers readers a glimpse behind the headlines

Wife remembers B.C. man killed in possible case of mistaken identity

Rex Gill was in Kamloops working to support his family after oilfield job dried up

Early morning shooting in Courtenay

Reporter at taped-off scene outside apartment complex

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

Most Read