Gateway Gazette

Major Business Groups Warn Confidence in Canada at Risk

Confidence in Canada: Open Letter

VANCOUVER – A growing movement of more than 70 business, industry and community groups, representing hundreds of thousands of British Columbians and Canadians, have come together over the last two days to sign a joint letter calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premiers John Horgan and Rachel Notley to resolve the impasse on the Trans Mountain Pipeline project.

Should the impasse not be resolved, the group asks the federal government to utilize all appropriate federal powers at their disposal, including expanding, if required, the Ocean Protection Plan to ensure the Trans Mountain pipeline project proceeds without further delay.

Several of the organizations have also launched www.ConfidenceInCanada.ca, a website where everyday Canadians can email key political decision-makers to show their support for the project and our country’s reputation as a place to invest and create jobs.

Earlier this week, Kinder Morgan announced a suspension of all non-essential spending on the federally and provincially approved project, citing “unquantifiable risk” as a result of the continuing uncertainty created by the B.C. government.

At stake is more than a single pipeline project, the group noted. The continued obstructionist position of the current Government of British Columbia calls into question whether an agreement can be reached where the rule of law will prevail and commercial enterprise can, with confidence, build and operate a business in our country. The global reputation of our country as a safe and secure place to invest and do business is at serious risk.    

Leaders of several of the organizations represented at today’s event provided comments and are available for media interviews:

“The B.C. government’s continued position on the pipeline and lack of federal resolve has turned this situation into a referendum on whether British Columbia is open to investment. It raises the question of whether any legal enterprise – large or small – can with any confidence invest, build and operate a business within the province and the country. We immediately need leadership in our Canadian federation to resolve this matter and reinstate our confidence in Canada for the benefit of all Canadians and our future prosperity “ – Greg D’Avignon, President and CEO, Business Council of British Columbia  

“Canada’s energy sector is on its knees. Companies investing billions of dollars in our economy are vilified at nearly every turn. As a result, Canada’s energy sector is being hollowed out – Canada is losing investment, jobs and talent. Hundreds of communities, thousands of companies and the quarter-million men and women working in construction in BC will be hurt by this flagrant disregard for the rule of law – we must build this pipeline and support the jobs and opportunities that come with it.” – Chris Gardner, President, Independent Contractors and Businesses Association  

“Enough is enough. It’s time to reinforce investor confidence in Canada.  Ensuring the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project gets completed will send the right signal.  If we don’t send that signal quickly we risk eroding – perhaps irreparably – our provincial and national brand as a place worth investing in.” – Val Litwin, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce

“This is about more than a pipeline. This is about our national economy, the cohesiveness of our country, and the ability for us to think — and act — in the best interest of all Canadians. That’s why we are calling on the B.C. Government to ‘stand down’ on its tactics to further delay this project, and calling on the Canadian Government to ‘stand up,’ to assert that this project is in the national interest, and put a halt to the uncertainty that threatens to undermine our federation. The rest of the world is watching.” – Iain Black, President and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

“Whether a business is big or small, it’s important to have confidence that governments at all levels will respect the laws of this country. Creating mayhem and mischief with respect to a project that has been approved is clearly at odds with this and puts our economic security at risk. It can’t be allowed to stand.” – Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President and Chief Strategic Officer of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

“Prime Minister Trudeau has been a strong supporter of his government’s decision on Trans Mountain but now needs to exercise the authority Canadians gave him and uphold its approval. The project is in the best interest of all Canadians but B.C. Premier John Horgan is holding the country hostage and overstepping his jurisdiction. It’s time Ottawa exert its authority to end the B.C. government’s attempts to foil the project.” – Tim McMillan, President and CEO, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

“To attract the investment required for mining projects, investors require certainty.  Mining is a capital intensive industry, where it can take multiple years to move a project from development to operation. A lack of investor confidence in the federal and provincial regulatory processes creates detrimental uncertainty for our industry and our ability to sustain the jobs of today and, importantly, create the opportunities of tomorrow. Regulatory predictability, consistency and coordination is absolutely paramount to the future of the BC mining industry.” – Bryan Cox, President and CEO, Mining Association of BC

“The project is now at a critical juncture where immediate concrete actions and leadership from the federal government is needed to ensure absolute certainty that the Trans Mountain expansion will be built. Federal and provincial leaders must resolve the current impasse and signal to the world that Canada remains open for business.” – Chris Bloomer, President and CEO, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association

“The Government of BC has taken strong steps towards an evidenced-based decision making model with the approval of Site C, an LNG tax regime and commitment for an energy roadmap. We encourage the BC Government to continue their advocacy for the rule of law in resource development projects and actively support Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion.” –  Rob Fraser, Mayor, District of Taylor, Co-Chair, Northeast B.C. Resource Municipalities Coalition

“It’s essential for the stability and health of our businesses and communities that BC is trusted by investors – project commitments must hold. Whether you’re a tradesperson signing with a supplier or a government saying “yes” to a major project, this is a fundamental tenet of business. While no one disputes that environmental safety is a paramount concern, the way forward is not to second guess. The way forward is to work together to ensure positive outcomes.” – Chris Atchison, President, British Columbia Construction Association

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April 12, 2018

The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau and Cabinet

Prime Minister of Canada

Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

cc: Premier John Horgan and Cabinet

Premier Rachel Notley and Cabinet

Sent via email

Subject: Open Letter

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau and Cabinet,

Earlier this week Kinder Morgan announced its intention to suspend all non-essential spending on the federally and provincially approved Trans Mountain Pipeline project citing “unquantifiable risk” as a result of the continuing uncertainty created by the B.C. government.  In response we are taking the unusual step to come together and call upon you to convene a meeting without delay with the Premiers of British Columbia and Alberta to resolve the impasse on the Trans Mountain Pipeline project and to clear the way for this project to proceed in the national interest.

Regrettably, this may not be enough. The continued obstructionist position of the current Government of British Columbia calls into question whether an agreement can be reached where the rule of law will prevail and commercial enterprise can, with confidence, build and operate a business in our country.

Should you and the Premier of British Columbia be unable to cooperatively resolve the current impasse within days, we then call upon you to utilize all appropriate federal powers at your disposal, including expand, if required, the Ocean Protection Plan, to ensure the Trans  Mountain pipeline project proceeds without further delay.

At stake is more than a pipeline project.  The global reputation of our country as a safe and secure place to invest and do business is at serious risk.

It’s deeply concerning that a project that has gone through rigorous review, including four years of consultation and numerous federal and provincial conditions  is now in this situation after being given a green-light to proceed. This threatens to provoke a crisis of confidence in Canada’s regulatory processes with far reaching implications which go well beyond this project. It threatens to send a message to investors that Canada cannot be trusted. It puts billions of dollars of government revenue at risk—billions that pay for things that Canadians need, from teachers to MRI machines to affordable housing and further investments in protecting the environment.

Many small and medium-sized business owners, construction workers, people who support their families in manufacturing, and Indigenous Nations are now unfairly caught in the crossfire as a result of the uncertainty surrounding the project’s future and, collaterally, our country’s growing uncertain investment climate.

We appreciate your government’s support of this federally and provincially approved project. In the interest of all Canadians, your government must now make this issue its top priority. Creating certainty is of the utmost importance not just for the Trans Mountain pipeline project, but also to uphold the rule of law and Canada’s reputation as a place in which to invest, build and operate businesses.  As you are well aware, investor confidence is essential to creating jobs, supporting healthy communities, and funding health, education and social programs.

Sincerely,

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