“It’s an important thing to remind folks of it and to keep it front and centre in the minds of decision makers and those who speak regularly to decision makers,” Premier Rachel Notley said Thursday.
“So that is the point of the advertising campaign.”
The $450,000-per-week digital and print ads state the halt in pipeline construction is costing Canadians $40 million per day and that the recent court decision could mean “big losses for our country.”
“Until it’s built, Canada is forced to ship oil by more expensive, more environmentally damaging means — and to sell Canadian oil to America at a discount,” the ad reads.
The publication goes on to suggest a national plan is needed to reduce delays and end uncertainty.
“Our view is this: we must have a clear, reliable plan that has the integrity where experts will say, ‘Yes, that’s likely to be the case,’ that goes forward that outlines how we’re going to get to construction resuming and getting pipeline built,” Notley said.
“We must move forward on it and our government is not going to stop pushing every lever that we have at our disposal to make that progress. We are not done. It will be built and that is that.”
Late last month, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned the federal government’s approval of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
In a unanimous decision by a panel of three judges, the court said the National Energy Board’s review of the proposal was so flawed that the federal government could not rely on it as a basis for its decision to approve the expansion.
The court also concluded that the federal government failed in its duty to engage in meaningful consultations with First Nations before giving the project the green light.
Construction on the project has since come to a halt. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said his government remains committed to restarting the project, but has yet to outline specifics on the next steps.
“I think we have to wait and see for the final legal opinions but, quite honestly, the court has been clear that the federal government has to go back and engage in meaningful, substantive consultation with Indigenous people,” Notley said. “So that is a solid six or seven month proposition and that can’t happen until the NEB reissues its certificate.
“What we need is a plan and we need a plan that is not caught up in regulatory and legal gamesmanship at the NEB level and that is what we’re discussing with the federal government.”
The vice-chairman of Summa Strategies, a government relations firm, questioned the timing and the effectiveness of the ads.
“The court has already ruled, the prime minister has indicated he’s going to follow likely what’s been prescribed by the courts, so what’s the point of the spend? The decision has already been made,” Tim Powers said.
“This one’s a bit like Sears realizing that maybe it should advertise now because nobody’s buying their product anymore, and that didn’t really work very well for them.
“I would have rather invested in Sears if I were Alberta than the ads in the newspaper. It seems too little too late.”
In total, the ad will run in 27 newspapers across Canada, including The Global and Mail and National Post, and local papers like the Vancouver Province and Sun, The Winnipeg Free Press, Toronto Star and Ottawa Citizen.
Notley said money for the ads comes from within the existing budget. The nature, frequency and location of the ads will be evaluated on an ongoing basis, she said.
“We have definitely set aside money to do more advertising. We have a lot of room that’s already in the budget in order for us to be quite strategic and also persuasive as need be.”
Ottawa now owns the existing Trans Mountain line, purchasing it along with other assets recently for $4.5 billion to ensure the expansion gets completed.
Watch below: Ongoing Global News coverage of the overturning of approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project
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