Sorenson: Trudeau and the pipeline snafu

Trudeau Liberal made a mess of the Trans Mountain Pipeline situation

“The Trudeau Liberals fall to earth, crushed by pipelines and carbon taxes.” While those are not my words, I certainly share the sentiment expressed by National Post columnist and CBC At Issue panelist Andrew Coyne.

I also agree with him when he said the Liberals “are very good at the symbolic gesture, the leap of faith, the exuberant tossing of one’s hat over the wall. They are not so good at figuring out how to retrieve it.” In other words, they are all talk and no action which is evident in the fact that they have accomplished precious little in almost three years.

Trudeau has mishandled the critical decisions necessary to get important resource projects underway. He vetoed the Northern Gateway pipeline and killed Energy East with last minute regulatory changes that favoured foreign imports over Canadian energy.

For over a year and a half, Canadians have waited for Trudeau to come up with a concrete plan to ensure that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion would be completed. Instead, he offered one delay after another and then ultimately, cost taxpayers $4.5 billion to buy a 60 year old pipeline and plans for a new one he can’t even build due to his government’s failures.

On Thursday, Aug. 30th, The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the National Energy Board (NEB) failed to properly assess the risks posed by the increased tanker traffic resulting from the pipeline expansion. And that the federal government, despite their rhetoric, did not engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations.

A week after this court decision came down, Trudeau still failed to respond quickly and decisively, despite the tremendous threat to oil and gas workers across this country and to many regional economies that stood to benefit from this project. This would include the 43 First Nation communities that have benefit agreements, worth $400 million, which now hang in the balance.

The Trudeau Liberals also shot down a Conservative call for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources to hold special meetings to probe how to improve the consultation process and find out what the Government’s next steps are. The Liberals refusal to answer these questions seems to hold true to Trudeau’s plan to phase out the energy industry.

The leader of the United Conservative Party of Alberta, Jason Kenney, has proposed an excellent path forward beginning with an immediate recall of Parliament to debate legislation that would declare the NEB has no jurisdiction over tanker traffic. Also, so they could debate and adopt Bill S-245, the Trans Mountain Pipeline Act which was passed by the Senate on May 22nd, 2018. Senator Doug Black from Alberta received 78 per cent support from senators representing all regions of Canada, for his bill that requested the Federal Government to declare the Trans Mountain Pipeline of national importance.

Kenney also suggested that the federal government: withhold discretionary transfer payments to B.C. for jobs and infrastructure projects due to their obstructionist delays; immediately appeal the Court of Appeal decision to the Supreme Court; and withdraw Bill C-69 which overhauls and renames the Federal Environmental Assessment Act.

I strongly agree with our Leader Andrew Scheer and UCP Leader Kenney that Trans Mountain is crucial to oil and gas workers all across the country and most importantly, to the economic viability of Canada – a natural resource dependent nation.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this or previous columns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Camrose, Alberta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-608-4603 or e-mail Kevin.Sorenson.c1@parl.gc.ca.

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