In November, the International Union of Operating Engineers issued a press release, objecting to a New Democratic Party Opposition Day motion on the Keystone XL pipeline.
Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher, who is an IUOE International vice president, and IUOE general president James T. Callahan were disappointed with the NDP’s motion.
IUOE Canadian regional director James Murphy also sent a strongly worded letter to NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair.
The NDP motion stated that:
“In the opinion of the House, the Keystone XL pipeline would intensify the export of unprocessed raw bitumen and would export more than 40,000 well-paying Canadian jobs, and is therefore not in Canada’s best interest.”
Business manager Gallagher noted in the press release that he is disappointed that the NDP chose to completely ignore the benefit of pipeline construction to working Canadians such as members of the Operating Engineers’ union and other construction trades.
“The Keystone XL project would be a net benefit to workers across Canada who depend on the resource sector and construction for their livelihoods,” he stated. “This hasty action by the NDP without consulting major stakeholders will jeopardize our economic recovery and jobs we had been hoping for.”
General president Callahan said thousands of skilled construction jobs – jobs that feed families, pay mortgages and send kids to university – will be generated from building Keystone XL.
“If you are on the side of working people, then you should be for this project.”
In his letter to Mulcair, Canadian regional director Murphy said that Canada does not have the refining capacity to deal with the amounts of raw bitumen that are being developed in Canada’s oil sands, therefore the product must be exported.
He stated that the union supports Keystone XL because Canada must look at expanding and diversifying its markets.
He noted that Keystone XL will allow Canadian oil companies to expand the reach of their product, which will only benefit Canada’s economy.
“Operating Engineers are among the most highly trained and skilled pipeline workers in the world,” he stated in the letter. “Our expertise will ensure that Keystone is built right, built safe and built to last.”