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Alberta’s oil producers encouraged by promises of action on Trans Mountain project
Published Sunday, April 15, 2018 2:26PM MDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 15, 2018 6:21PM MDT
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sat down with the premiers of B.C. and Alberta on Sunday and once he was finished, he pledged that Ottawa would be behind the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline and make sure it gets built.
Trudeau said that he’s told Finance Minister Bill Morneau to begin discussions with Kinder Morgan and has also said he will be bringing in legislation to ‘reassert and reinforce’ the fact that the Canadian government has the ability to approve the project.
"Ideally, the rhetoric and actions by the B.C. government would not have led to the concerns of the company, that got approval to move forward on a project that is in the national interest," he said.
"We are responding to this situation. We are demonstrating not just that we are exerting and understanding the responsibilities that come with the federal government, but demonstrating as well what we have long held -- and what Canadians understand: that the environment and the economy must go together."
Tim McMillan, president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, is very encouraged by what he heard from the Prime Minister on Sunday morning.
“I think that today’s news, the discussion with the premiers and the Prime Minister is very important. Up to this point, we’ve had a lot of reassurance and a lot of words from the Prime Minister about this project getting built. Today, the Prime Minister put forward a plan of action and those actions will be very important.”
The meeting came a week after Kinder Morgan announced it would be suspending all ‘non-essential activities’ on the Trans Mountain project, a move that many saw was the company attempting to spur action on the project.
McMillan says that Kinder Morgan was being very honest by making that announcement and setting a deadline of May 31 for an agreement to be reached.
“I think Kinder Morgan was very forthright and honest about why they needed the time to put that timeframe in place and what I saw today is actions being taken and my expectation is that those actions will conclude well in advance of that timeline.”
He says that Trans Mountain is an essential project for all Canadians particularly because the country is seeing investment slip away every day when the project is not moving forwards.
“We need this pipeline in place as soon as possible. We need to send a message to the world that this project can move forward and can stay on time and on budget and that’s going to take leadership.”
Following Sunday’s meeting, Premier Horgan said he will stay with the question he’s posed to the court system over what jurisdiction B.C. has, if any, over the pipeline and its contents.
McMillan said it’s no surprise to hear because Horgan’s political reality hasn’t changed.
“He has a minority government that’s being propped up by a Green Party that is continually lobbying against him and using this as a tool to beat him up with. So, the fact that his political reality hasn’t changed, his message hasn’t either.”
McMillan also says that especially from what he heard on Sunday, he is sure that the pipeline will be built.
“Yes, absolutely. The commitment is there from our elected officials, we are seeing meaningful actions. The proponent is saying ‘this is our timeframe, we’re committed to it’ but they have been very up front about what they need to move it forward and the right pieces seem to be moving in the right direction.”
(With files from The Canadian Press)