Lakeland, AB – Shannon Stubbs, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, today released the following statement regarding the National Energy Board’s recommendation to the Liberal cabinet on the Trans Mountain Pipeline:
“Today’s recommendation from the National Energy Board, while positive, does not get us anywhere closer to the pipeline getting built. All it does is put the decision back in the hands of the same Liberal cabinet that failed to start construction in the first place.
“The bottom line is Justin Trudeau’s Liberal cabinet is still months away from making a decision with no timeline for when consultations with first nations will conclude or when a final decision on the project will be made.
“This review process by the National Energy Board was unnecessary and only further delayed the construction of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. The same evidence, issues, and concerns from the first review were repeated in the reconsideration.
“Meanwhile, thousands of Canadian families who rely on the energy sector for their jobs and livelihoods continue to suffer. More than 100,000 jobs have already been lost and thousands more are at risk. Energy workers are paying for Justin Trudeau’s mistakes.
“It did not have to be this way. Within a week of the Aug. 30, 2018 Federal Court of Appeal ruling Conservatives had a plan to rescue the project and get it built. To address the two primary concerns of the court, Conservatives proposed the government immediately appoint a ministerial representative to restart indigenous consultations and introduce emergency legislation to affirm that Transport Canada was the appropriate department to assess the impact of marine traffic.
“Conservatives would also have immediately used the constitutional powers of the federal government to declare the Trans Mountain Expansion project in the national interest, removing the threats from provincial and municipal leaders to block to the project.
“Instead, the Liberals picked the lengthiest, costliest, and most uncertain option by directing the NEB to undertake a 22-week reconsideration, further delaying progress on the Trans Mountain Expansion. Nothing has changed. The opponents of the project simply used this time to prepare their next wave of legal challenges.
“The mistakes the Liberals have made on the Trans Mountain Expansion, their ‘no more pipelines’ Bill C-69 and other anti-energy policies and legislation have destroyed Canada’s reputation as Hian attractive destination for the kind of energy investment that creates jobs and opportunity.
“Energy workers and their families deserve better from their government. An Andrew Scheer government will stand up for Canada’s energy sector and make sure energy workers get back to work.”
Shannon Stubbs is an Alberta Conservative MP
The Federal Court of Appeal explicitly said in their August 30th 2018 ruling that Liberal cabinet had failed to follow their own consultation plan with indigenous peoples. In the words of the court, the new indigenous consultation could be “expeditious.” This is a constitutionally required process that cannot be addressed through emergency legislation. Minister Sohi has repeatedly refused to commit to a timeline for these consultations. Extended time does not equal due diligence. The key aspects of meaningful two way consultation is a decision maker working with indigenous communities and taking reasonable measures to accommodate. With minimal public information on the process and progress of the consultation process it is difficult for Canadians to have confidence the mistakes of the initial process have been corrected.
The second part of the Federal Court of Appeal ruling dealt with an issues related to the scope of the review conducted by the National Energy Board. The court ruled that the National Energy Board should directly review the impacts of marine traffic related to this project, instead of relying on Transport Canada’s review. Transport Canada has the jurisdiction to regulate shipping. There was a legislative alternative available to the government – as the government can designate who is responsible under what act for the review. Parliament could have clarified retroactively that Transport Canada had the jurisdiction to regulate shipping, and that the TERMPOL process that Transport Canada conducted and submitted into evidence in the original consideration was sufficient.
It has been over three years since the Liberal cabinet approved TMX and half a year since the Federal Court Ruling. It is highly concerning there are media reports indicating the Liberals will request an extension of the 90 day timeline to make a decision on the NEB’s recommendation – cancelling the summer construction season for Trans Mountain.
Under Conservatives, four major pipelines were approved and constructed. When the Liberals were elected, three companies wanted to build three new export pipelines in Canada. The Liberals cancelled Northern Gateway, they killed Energy East with red-tape, and there still is no certainty on the future of the Trans Mountain Expansion.