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Canada's new national dream: Scheer touts national energy corridor plan
Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer, months ahead of when the election is expected to take place, arrived in Calgary on Saturday on his cross-country tour to promote his party’s energy plan.
His remarks were expected to resonate with Albertans, who have been watching the nationwide fight over pipelines and the province’s precious energy resources.
"First, we will cancel the carbon tax. Like Premier Kenney, I have promised that the first bill I table will be an act to repeal the carbon tax. Second, we will repeal Bill C-69, the 'no more pipelines' bill."
Scheer also promised to end the ban on shipping traffic in B.C. and set out clear schedules for regulatory approvals for pipelines.
"We will ensure that we do Indigenous consultations right, upfront and in the right way."
The Conservative leader also criticized Trudeau's plan to allow other countries meet the current demand for oil in Canada and said a different strategy is needed.
"Canada can choose a different and more prosperous path," Scheer said. "The world is no better off when dangerous regimes are able to ramp up their economies because Justin Trudeau wants to phase out the energy sector here in Canada."
Scheer said the country's fuel needs must be covered by the resources that are here in Canada.
"If the U.S. can do it, so can we."
He called the idea an "ambitious" plan and said it would be difficult to set up, but "that's no reason to back down."
"I believe in the benefits of our natural resources. Not just in their ability to create wealth, prosperity and opportunity, but their power to bring Canadians together from right across the country."
The Trudeau government responded to Scheer's statements on Saturday, saying that Ottawa has made it a "priority" to support the energy sector and create jobs.
"The Conservatives spent a decade failing our energy sector and failing Canadians. For ten years they ignored Indigenous communities, environnemental and local concerns. And for ten years, they got nothing built to new markets," said Vanessa Adams, press secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources in an email to CTV News.
"Andrew Scheer’s plan is no better - he’s making it up on the fly. And he will use the same outdated approach. Canadians won’t be fooled - the result will be the same."
Adams added the Trudeau government is working towards a clean growth economy and is devoted to taking action on climate change.
Interest in a coast-to-coast corridor has picked up in recent years. Energy infrastructure proposals have failed to secure approval due to tough regulatory processes and community concerns over environmental impacts.
For instance, the shortage of pipeline capacity out of oil-rich Alberta has created a bottleneck that's harmed both the provincial and national economies. Sellers have had to sell at deep discounts because there simply isn't the transportation capacity to get oil to willing buyers.
In the last few years, a few academics and senators have recommended the federal government give the corridor concept a serious look, even though making it happen would be a big, multi-jurisdictional undertaking.
Scheer also said some hope has been restored in Alberta ever since Jason Kenney took office a few weeks ago.
"Come October, I want to bring even more hope. Not just to Albertans, but to all Canadians."
(With files from the Canadian Press)