Trans Mountain pipeline should go ahead even if consultation doesn’t end with consensus, Notley says

Energy industry leaders meet with Alberta premier, express ‘concern & urgency’
WATCH ABOVE: A plan to resume construction on the Trans Mountain pipeline is likely weeks away, while Alberta's premier is stressing the urgency to make a decision. Jill Croteau has more on her comments just hours after she met with her Market Task Force.

While she’s committed to following the Federal Court of Appeal’s direction to get the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion back on track, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says total consensus shouldn’t be required for Ottawa to give it the go-ahead.

“We know that we must do the work that the constitution tells us to do as it relates to consulting with and accommodating the concerns of Indigenous people,” she told reporters Thursday.

“[But] that does not mean that we have to talk till yes; that does not mean that there is a veto.”

Notley said she believes those consultations will still “mean a very robust and meaningful back-and-forth with open-minded efforts to accommodate.”

Notley met with industry stakeholders in Calgary Thursday, a day after discussing the quashed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project with the prime minister in Edmonton.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau says adhering to the court’s guidance best way to get Trans Mountain built

The premier met with her Market Access Task Force, as well as members of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

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“The mood was tense and concerned,” Notley said of the day’s talks. “The primary message they delivered… is that there is a sense of urgency.

“We must find a solution to this problem quickly… this is a matter of investor confidence.”

It’s not known exactly what the two leaders discussed during their meeting Wednesday, however Notley says she is satisfied Trudeau is committed to getting the project back online in good time, and her government is willing to work with him to make it happen.

“We’ve both instructed our officials to get to work immediately and burn the midnight oil on that task.”

WATCH: Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks to reporters about the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project on Thursday.

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Trudeau said his government remains committed to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. However, he did not reveal exactly what their next steps would be to restart the project.

The pipeline expansion has been top of mind for people and politicians across the country since Aug. 30, when the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the government’s approval of the project.

The court found not enough consultation was done with Indigenous people, and said the impact of increased tanker traffic was not properly considered.

READ MORE: Notley pulling Alberta out of federal climate plan after latest Trans Mountain pipeline setback

Notley has urged Trudeau’s government to file an appeal through the Supreme Court of Canada as soon as possible. She also said Trudeau should call an emergency session of Parliament to “assert its authority” and fix the National Energy Board consultation process, which was criticized in the court ruling.

“We and the industry are trapped on a regulatory merry-go-round and only the federal government has the tools and the authority to bring it to a permanent stop,” Notley said Thursday.

She told reporters she has not given Trudeau an exact deadline to take action, but that he pledged to her to establish a timeline on Ottawa’s plan going forward in the coming weeks, not months.

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“I’m giving them time to make the choice exercise their authority that they have to get this problem fixed in the way that is best for all Canadians,” she said, adding that the ruling is long and complex and the government needs to get its response right in order to prevent another such court ruling in the future.

“[However,] what we are pleased with is that there are a lot of [federal] officials on this file,” she said. “They understand its urgency. Now the question is, do they act fast enough?”

WATCH: Global News coverage of Trudeau’s visit to Edmonton on Wednesday and his meeting with Notley

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While Notley suggested the task of consulting with Indigenous people on the pipeline ” is not necessarily an incredibly long one,” she said other recommendations laid out in the court ruling are more complicated.

“It comes down to certainty,” Notley said of the importance of the pipeline project. “We, on behalf of investors, on behalf of our energy industry, on behalf of working people in Alberta, we need the certainty and the investment and the job creation that this has always been about.

“[This project is important to] ensure that in this volatile time, Canada can control its own economic destiny.”

READ MORE: Suncor CEO says company won’t approve more oil production expansions without progress on pipelines

Notley also said while her government is still committed to protecting the environment and addressing climate change, she still believes her decision to pull out of the federal climate change plan was the right thing to do.

“[This pipeline] is necessary to grow the economy sufficiently in order to move on to the next phase of environmental protection that you would see trough the Pan-Canadian Framework.”
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When Notley was asked when she would tell Albertans what role her government and taxpayers would play in Ottawa’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the premier said there were still a few legal loose ends to tie up on the matter but that she would provide details as soon as she is able to.