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New Burnaby South Liberal candidate pledges support for Trans Mountain pipeline

(via Burnaby Now file photo)

New Burnaby South Liberal byelection candidate Richard Lee thinks a lot more Burnaby residents will come to support the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project if the federal government does enough consultation on it.

Lee was introduced Saturday to party supporters and the media during an event just hours after he was announced as a replacement for Karen Wang.

During a 10-minute press conference, Lee was asked for his stance on the pipeline project, which is currently being reviewed again by the National Energy Board after a court said First Nations weren't consulted in a meaningful way, and that risks from increased tanker traffic were not considered.

Lee said he views the project as having a lot of benefits from a job creation standpoint, one of his main platform items along with housing affordability, but understands the concerns about the environment and safety. Lee said the government needs to listen to First Nations and community concerns about safety and impacts to the environment, such as how increased tanker traffic will impact the ocean.

Lee said the government has committed to a $1.5-billion program to protect the environment from such things as oil spills.

“Those kinds of actions are really important for the community, so that our local community will support the pipeline,” said Lee, adding that he’s lived in the community a long time. “I know local concerns about safety.”

Lee said he hadn’t spoken to Wang since her resignation on Wednesday.

Lee was asked about his opponent, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh being a “parachute” candidate, but Lee refused to criticize him for that - something Wang was vocal about.

Wang stepped aside Wednesday after she urged Chinese people to vote for her, the "only" Chinese candidate, instead of Singh, who she described as "of Indian descent."

The Liberals say Lee represented Burnaby in British Columbia's legislature for 16 years, serving for a time as deputy speaker.

- Chris Campbell, Burnaby Now with files from Jennifer Gauthier and the Canadian Press