Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says if he were prime minister, he’d build the Trans Mountain pipeline by invoking constitutional powers and banning foreign funding from being used to oppose the project.
Speaking to reporters at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, Scheer outlined his plan to restart construction on the pipeline, which was stalled by a ruling from the Federal Court of Appeal last month and prompted the Liberals to announce last week they will send the project back to have its impact on marine ecosystems assessed by the National Energy Board.
That plan relies on repealing the carbon tax, enacting legislation Scheer said would “clarify the role of proponents and governments involved in consultations,” preventing foreign funds from being used to oppose the pipeline, and use the federal powers to declare the project as being of a national benefit to Canada.
“Together, these measures will change the catastrophic projects that the Liberals have implemented and help to renew the energy sector,” Scheer said.
The federal powers referred to by Scheer are Section 92 of the Constitution.
LISTEN: Andrew Scheer joins Danielle Smith to discuss his plan to get Trans Mountain built
That allows the federal government to declare a piece of infrastructure in the national interest, but critics say it essentially doubles down on powers already established in law.
He also called for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to enact emergency legislation to prevent the pipeline having to go for a secondary assessment by the National Energy Board and to ask for both a suspension of the Federal Court’s decision as well as an appeal to the Supreme Court.
WATCH BELOW: Ottawa unveils plan to get Trans Mountain pipeline back on track
In the ruling stalling the pipeline, the Federal Court said the Liberals had failed to adequately consult Indigenous people on the project and also that the initial review of the project, done under the former Conservative government, was fundamentally flawed because it did not take into account the impact of increased tanker traffic from the pipeline expansion on marine animals into account.
That ruling came after the Liberals announced a controversial decision to buy the pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.
They plan to try and sell it to a private company down the road.
In announcing the purchase plan, officials said construction would be underway by the summer.
That did not happen, and the timeline for when the project will be completed is not clear.
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said on Friday an update on that timeline will come when the government announces how it plans to react to the Federal Court’s ruling on Indigenous consultation in the coming weeks.
He did not say whether that would fit in with the 22-week timeline given to the National Energy Board to complete its new tanker traffic assessment by Sohi.