Getting Canadian oil to markets ‘strategically important’: Kenney

ABOVE: Employment Minister Jason Kenney talks to Tom Clark about changes to the temporary foreign workers program and why nobody in the government will talk about Northern Gateway.

OTTAWA – Employment Minister Jason Kenney says while Enbridge’s Northern Gateway is not a national priority, getting Canadian resources to market is still strategically important.

“No particular project is a national priority,” said Kenney on The West Block.

Just two years ago the government’s message on Northern Gateway was very different.

“We think it’s obviously in the vital interests of Canada, and in the vital interests of British Columbia,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Northern Gateway in August 2012.

“As Canada’s Asia-Pacific gateway, the economic growth we expect to have here in the future is going to be based on commerce with the Asia-Pacific region and we think it’s important that we continue to diversify our exports through this province.”

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But the Conservatives have put nobody forward to defend their position on Northern Gateway since the government announced its conditions for approval of the pipeline on June 17.

Kenney said the Conservative party didn’t want to put a representative forward since licensing the pipeline project is a regulatory matter overseen by the National Energy Board, not the federal government.

He appeared on The West Block to talk about changes to the temporary foreign workers program.  When asked about the decision on Northern Gateway Kenney said, “Let me be blunt: if we want the hospitals and health care, pensions, and education that we will need in the future, we have to pay for it somehow.”

“We should be selling our energy products and our commodities at global prices so we can give Canadians the standard of living they want in the future.”

– With files from the Canadian Press 

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