Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says his government is aware that its attempts to salvage the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will not be popular in every part of the country.
“We know that there will be pushback,” said Carr during an interview on this weekend’s edition of The West Block.
“This is a project that is controversial. There are people who feel very deeply about it.”
On Sunday, Ottawa will be making a renewed effort to convince British Columbia’s government to halt any attempt to delay or block the Kinder Morgan project, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set to meet with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.
“We know that most people in Alberta have a different view than some people in British Columbia,” Carr said.
“But there is only one government of Canada. The government of Canada made a decision (to approve Trans Mountain). We have given the reasons to the Canadian people after unprecedented consultation.”
The minister said the goal is to get the uncertainty that has been created by B.C.’s opposition “cleared away.” Investors need confidence to ratchet up spending on the pipeline expansion, he said. Kinder Morgan could pull the plug on the project as early as May 31.
Opponents of Trans Mountain have argued that a spill of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands into B.C.’s coastal water would be disastrous, and that with the approval of the Line 3 and Keystone XL pipelines, a third one out of Alberta is unnecessary.
At the moment, Canadian oil is selling at a steep discount on the international market, in part due to supply bottlenecks in the oil patch. Supporters of Trans Mountain, which has been approved with conditions by the National Energy Board, predict that the expansion will ease those bottlenecks, give Alberta access to coveted Asian markets, and create new jobs and investment.
The federal government has also been touting its billion-dollar Oceans Protection Plan to counter concerns about spills.
“The option, of course, is that we move oil by rail, and I don’t think most people think that’s a safer way to do it,” Carr said.
“This pipeline is good for our country.”
— Watch the full interview with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr above.