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Ottawa won’t tolerate long delays on Trans Mountain, federal minister says

Government has tools in place to prevent long delay in Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion: Carr
WATCH ABOVE: Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr tells Vassy Kapelos his government will judge British Columbia by the action it takes in its consultation process but when it comes to major energy infrastructure the federal government will make the decisions and take action.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says if British Columbia’s government wants to launch further consultations linked to the Trans-Mountain pipeline expansion, the province can – but Ottawa won’t tolerate “unusual or unnecessary delays” on the project.

“People are asking a lot of hypothetical questions,” Carr said in an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos.

“(The B.C. government is) entitled to announce a consultation. We have had ours … It was broad and it was deep and it led Canada to a conclusion.”

That conclusion was that Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion project is in Canada’s interest, Carr said. The Liberals approved it in 2016.

WATCH: ‘It’s the job of the federal government to decide what is in the national interest’: Trudeau

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But last week, provincial governments in B.C. and Alberta locked horns over B.C.’s plans to put a restriction on the amount of diluted bitumen that can be transported by pipeline or rail until the province can better understand the ability to mitigate spills.

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Specifically, B.C. says that will mean public consultations, and setting up an independent scientific advisory panel to make recommendations.

In response, an angry Alberta Premier Rachel Notley called on the Trudeau government to step in, adding that she would put a stop to electricity-purchase talks with her neighbour to the west.

“We will judge what the British Columbia government does by the action that it takes,” said Carr this weekend when asked if, and when, Ottawa might step in.

“So far it says it’s going to talk to people. It has the right to talk to people.”

However, Carr noted, “if there are attempts at unusual or unnecessary delay, the National Energy Board has the tools available to make sure that these decisions are made in a timely way.”

The pipeline has been given the green light by Ottawa, the minister added, and if all the National Energy Board’s conditions for the project are met, “it should be built.”

– Watch the full interview with Jim Carr above.