Days after Jason Kenney promised to restrict the flow of fossil fuels to British Columbia if elected Alberta premier, federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he feels his support for the United Conservative Party (UCP) leader won’t hurt him in B.C.
Earlier this week, Kenney renewed his threat to “turn off the taps” if B.C. continues to “obstruct” the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
On Thursday, Scheer appeared alongside Kenney at a campaign rally days before Alberta’s provincial election.
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“There’s no doubt that the people of Alberta need a change of government after four years of an NDP government punishing the energy sector,” Scheer told Global BC’s Chris Gailus in a one-on-one interview. “But what Jason is talking about is a failure at the federal level and that’s my message to the people of British Columbia.
“The people of both provinces are caught in the crossfire because Justin Trudeau has failed to create a climate where big projects can get built. And we’ve been calling on the federal Liberals to put forward a comprehensive plan to get Trans Mountain built, to unclog the approvals process. They haven’t done so, so it is creating a lot of that animosity.”
Kenney has backed UCP candidate Mark Smith, who has come under fire for past remarks that have been labelled homophobic and anti-abortion.
Scheer said the Conservatives are an “open and inclusive party that celebrates everyone in this country.”
The Tory leader has promised to eliminate the federal carbon tax and is critical of B.C.’s provincial carbon tax. For British Columbians worried about record-high fuel costs, Scheer said the Conservatives will focus on “regulatory burdens” on the energy sector that “increase costs downstream.”
As for British Columbians who are concerned about the environmental impact of the fossil fuel industry on B.C.’s coast, Scheer said his government would have “a very robust approvals process” based on “science and evidence.”
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“We have to separate the people who always want to say no, and don’t have sound science to back up their opposition to these types of projects,” he said. “Our government will assure that an approvals process takes into account those very real environmental concerns but that does so in a way that, once met, will allow projects to proceed.”
While Scheer has slammed the Liberals’ climate plan, the Tories have not presented their own version of climate policy.
Scheer emphasized that the Conservatives’ plan will be released with ample time for Canadians to review it before October’s federal election.
— With files from Jesse Ferreras and Rebecca Joseph