27 Sep Pipeline Update
The rejection of the Trans Mountain pipeline was a nasty surprise because it came on the heels of what was supposed to be a thorough process by a world-class regulator supported by sympathetic federal and provincial governments (in Alberta at least). I’m angry with the delay because this project is so badly needed. It would create high-quality jobs, it would generate taxes to support core programs, and it would enable the continued responsible expansion of Alberta’s oil sands.
And make no mistake, building Trans Mountain is also good for the environment. Canada is a world leader in technologies to lower emissions, reduce the amount of fresh water used in energy production, and shrink the land required for energy development. These things simply won’t happen if there’s not enough development to support this important research and development.
In the big picture, this decision causes me to wonder what it will take to get vital infrastructure, or infrastructure of any kind, built in modern Canada. Digging into the reasons the court gave for rejecting the project tells us there’s a larger problem when it comes to energy infrastructure development in Canada, and this problem isn’t new.
The courts have been definitive in finding that successive federal governments have let Albertans and all Canadians down by failing in their constitutional duties to adequately consult Indigenous people. Threats by the Alberta Government to pull out of a federal climate plan that is nearly a year and a half away from implementation may make for a few good headlines, but it doesn’t get Trans Mountain or any other pipeline any closer to being built.
Like the football player who celebrates a touchdown before actually crossing the goal line only to get tackled on the five yard-line, I believe the government should have shown more humility until the job was done. They should have pushed the federal government back in 2016 to ensure the Trans Mountain consultation process was adequate. But of course that was before the NDP had decided pipelines were a good thing.
The government should also have worked harder to make the case that Canadian pipelines are good for the economy AND the environment. Instead, they let us down by assuming their carbon tax alone would gain us the “social license” required to build this pipeline. We know now how wrong they were.
Pipelines are vital for our country and our province. With an unstable southern trading partner, opening up new, diversified markets is the only way to ensure our long-term prosperity as a province and nation, and a return to the high paying jobs and bustling labour market that we enjoyed for so long.
Rest assured that as your MLA I will continue to push for pipelines and for streamlined regulations to ensure our energy industry can get on its feet, and we can put people back to work.