Conservative leader Andrew Scheer concerned about Trans Mountain’s future as pipeline dispute continues
The Conservatives and the NDP do not agree on many issues. However, a pipeline dispute has Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and federal Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer in the same corner. Both are firmly against British Columbia Premier John Horgan’s call for further review of the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion.
“Here we are months after this project was approved. This project went through an objective science-based evaluation process and it got the green light. Now we have an NDP government in British Columbia using political tactics to delay, obstruct, perhaps the goal of cancelling,” Scheer said Tuesday.
Scheer sat down with Global News’ Blake Lough to discuss a number of federal issues drawing attention in his home of Regina, including the fallout of the Gerald Stanley murder trial and this pipeline dispute..
“There are thousands of jobs at stake, not only in Alberta and Saskatchewan, obviously here in Regina with Evraz Steel, but in British Columbia as well. Their energy sector employs many, many people,” Scheer said.
Federal officials have been sent to B.C. to attempt to end the dispute. Federal Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr said Tuesday that the government stands behind the decision to approve the $7.4 billion pipeline expansion.
“[The] prime minister could not have been clearer,” Carr said. “The Trans Mountain project expansion is federally approved.”
Carr says nothing has been done that should stop the project. B.C just wants to consult residents whether they believe more research is needed.
Scheer does not buy this.
“I think that’s completely phony. I don’t think [Prime Minister Justin Trudeau] does want it built,” he said.
Scheer then pointed to the cancellation of the Northern Gateway pipeline. Scheer said the Liberals scrapped the project for political reasons. The Conservative Leader sees a trend.
“Energy East, before the analysis can even be done he stacked the deck and changed the evaluation to force Energy East to account for upstream and downstream emissions, which led to the cancellation of the project,” Scheer said.
Provincial Trade Disputes
In an effort to pressure the B.C. government, the Alberta NDP halted imports of B.C. wine. A move that does not sit well with Scheer.
“I’m very concerned there are elements of provincial protectionism all across the country, and when disputes like this happen it makes it worse. That’s where we need the federal government leadership,” he said.
Saskatchewan and Alberta have seen their own trade disputes recently. Alberta introduced a rebate program for craft brewers that Saskatchewan has said is an unfair trade practice. Saskatchewan won a challenge of the rule, which Alberta is appealing.
Plus, there was Saskatchewan’s short lived ban on Alberta license plates on Ministry of Highways’ construction sites. Saskatchewan withdrew the ban, shortly before Alberta would have filed a formal complaint under the New West Partnership trade agreement that could have cost Saskatchewan up to $5 million.
In the Queen City, Regina & District Chamber of Commerce CEO John Hopkins said when governments fight like this, businesses suffer and it’s not good for anyone.
“It certainly begs the question, is it one country or is it 13 countries that we’re living in right now,” he said. “At the end of the day, hopefully where we get to is one Canada. The federal government has the jurisdiction and needs to rule on Kinder Morgan. They’ve already granted the approval.”
With files from Blake Lough and Emily Mertz
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