Thousands of Albertans depend on our oil and energy sector to put food on their tables. The recent court decision to quash the Trans Mountain expansion project is another symptom of the Liberal government failing to take this important file seriously. The Federal Court of Appeal found that the Trudeau government failed to properly consult indigenous peoples on the Trans Mountain expansion and overturned the approval. If the government cannot even consult properly with Canadians, how can we trust that they can get a massive energy project completed?
To top it off, on the day of the court decision, Kinder Morgan shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of selling the Trans Mountain Pipeline to the government. In fact, 99 percent of shareholders voted in favour of this $4.5 billion deal. Now, taxpayers are on the hook for that money and we are nowhere closer to getting a new pipeline built than before. This is unacceptable and Justin Trudeau still has no plan to ensure that the Trans Mountain expansion is actually completed. Simply saying “it will be built” is meaningless and Canadians are tiring of all the talk and no action.
In early September, Canada’s Conservatives forced an emergency meeting of the Natural Resources Committee, calling on a study to be launched into how the government handled the expansion project, and specifically how and why the government decided to spend $4.5 billion to purchase the pipeline. Disappointingly, the Liberal MPs on the committee voted down our motion and continue to stonewall opposition attempts at getting answers for Canadians.
Canadians deserve to know what the government’s plan is for the pipeline that we now own. Kinder Morgan shareholders had their say; now it is time for Canadians to have our say. The Liberals have made all the wrong decisions on major projects, from vetoing Northern Gateway to killing Energy East. By failing to take the necessary actions to get this project built, Justin Trudeau has hurt Canadian workers, including the 43 First Nation communities that have benefit agreements worth over $400 million with Kinder Morgan.
When Parliament resumes in September, here is one thing the government can do to take action and show Canadians that they actually care about this important project: pass Bill S-245. The Bill would declare the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to be a general advantage to Canada. It would make the project a priority, and give the federal government the resources it needs to be completed so it cannot be held up by other levels of government or anti-energy activists. From day one, the Prime Minister’s lack of leadership has allowed others to needlessly delay and stall this project. It is time for this government to walk the walk and actually get the pipeline built.
Blake Richards is the MP for Banff-Airdrie.