September 14, 2018 5:16 pm

Feds a few days, not months, away from announcing Trans Mountain plan: Sohi

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley face-to-face for the first time since the Federal Court of Appeal ruled on halting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Notley has demanded Trudeau get the project built. And as Reid Fiest reports, the pressure keeps building.

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Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi confirmed Friday that the federal government will announce, possibly as early as next week, its plan to restart the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Officials with both the federal and Alberta governments have been reviewing the process laid out in the federal court rejection of the work permits for the project.

“We will be announcing our path forward in a few days, in a short, expedited way of getting this project back on track,” Sohi said at an announcement for a Western Canada Growth Strategy in Edmonton.

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“We are not talking about months of wait — days or maybe a week or so… because we understand the importance of this project to Alberta’s economy but also to the Canadian economy.”

READ MORE: Alberta NDP takes out pro-pipeline ads in newspapers across Canada

The timeline comes a day after Premier Rachel Notley confirmed the court ruling has been gone over from several different angles by both governments.

“You need to test your assumptions from a lot of different perspectives,” she said Thursday at an event at the University of Alberta.

“So we’ve been doing that pretty much daily and sharing that information with them and advocating pretty strongly.”

“I don’t know exactly where they’re going to land. I can’t tell you for sure they’re going to land on a place that will be satisfactory to us and so our next steps will be defined by what we see from the federal government.”

Late last month, the federal court of appeal overturned the federal government’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

READ MORE: Trans Mountain expansion a frustrating, anger-inducing process for Alberta: Notley

In a unanimous decision by a panel of three judges, the court said the National Energy Board’s (NEB) review of the proposal was so flawed 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.

“I can’t talk about what path forward we’re going to take,” Sohi said. “We’re exploring all options.

“But we also understand that we need to move forward as quickly as possible so we are moving toward that and I’m very hopeful that we’ll be able to have a path forward shortly.”

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

“Our focus is to make sure whatever steps we take must allow us to get this project built.

“We don’t want to be in a position where we are in the same position where we’re today. Our goal is to get this built in the right way.”

Notley said whatever comes, it will be sometime before construction gets going.

“That is a solid six- or seven-month proposition and that can’t happen until the NEB reissues its certificate. So what we need is a plan and we need a plan that is not caught up in regulatory and legal gamesmanship and the NEB level.”

Parliament resumes sitting Monday for three weeks, before a week off over Thanksgiving.

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