Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion must be a Government Priority

Hon. Kevin Sorenson, M.P., (Battle River-Crowfoot)
Parliamentary Report

On Monday, February 12th, the Conservative Party launched a debate on the Trans Mountain Expansion during our Opposition Day. We implored the Trudeau Liberals to prioritize the construction of the federally approved project.

The federal government must take immediate action, using all available tools, to establish certainty for this nationally significant project. It is more important than ever that this pipeline actually gets built if we are to get our energy to tidewater, expand Canadian markets and create jobs.

All other pipeline projects have been killed and as a result, investment dollars for major projects are leaving Canada. Energy East died with the changing of the rules and red tape. And, the Northern Gateway was vetoed by Prime Minister Trudeau despite receiving federal approval under the same rigorous process Trans Mountain has under gone.

During my intervention into this debate, I quoted Suncor president Steve Williams who has said, “Absent some changes and some improvements in competition, you’re going to see us not exercising the very big capital projects that we’ve just finished.” Mr. Williams was referring to changes the Liberals have brought in that create uncertainty regarding the actual construction and completion that makes investors think twice about risking any type of capital investment in these projects.

In May 2016, after the strongest in the world, most thorough and comprehensive scientific, technical and environmental assessment, the National Energy Board (NEB), declaring it in the national interest, recommended the approval of the expansion. Six months later, after yet another round of rigorous reviews and an additional federal report, the Prime Minister finally issued his approval. After which the NEB awarded a certificate of public convenience and necessity to allow construction and by December 2016, Kinder Morgan had complied with and fulfilled the 157 conditions imposed on them by the NEB.

As of February 2018, more than a year after the NEB recommended approval, uncertainty about whether this pipeline will ever be built continues to mount. The damage this uncertainty is causing, particularly with respect to the current interprovincial trade dispute between Alberta and B.C., must be alleviated. For these reasons, our Opposition motion called on the Liberal government to table their plan of action in the House of Commons no later than noon on Thursday, February 15th, 2018. Unfortunately, that deadline was never met as the Liberals voted against our motion. In the absence of strong leadership on this nationally important file, the uncertainty continues and relations between our two great provinces continue to deteriorate.