Notley, Carr and Anderson: It’s time to build Trans Mountain

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Natural Resources Minister James Carr and Kinder Morgan’s Ian Anderson speak at the Vancouver Energy Forum.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Federal Minister of Natural Resources James Carr and Kinder Morgan Canada President Ian Anderson provided keynote speeches at the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade’s Energy Forum on November 30th. 

All three made the case for the timely completion of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (TMEP). Minister Carr began the forum by connecting the dots on the importance of a strong energy sector in the transition to a lower-carbon economy. 

“Those who want to close the oil sands down tomorrow overlook both the disruption it would cause to Canadian families and the loss of revenue it provides for clean energy and innovation,” he said. “Those who believe that stopping [the Trans Mountain expansion] is a win, overlook what we have lost: jobs, income, investment in the energy transition and opportunity.”

Kinder Morgan’s Ian Anderson noted that the time was past for debate and that now was the time to ensure the pipeline is built.

“[Trans Mountain has been] the most thoroughly reviewed project in Canadian regulatory history. Period,” said Anderson. “We embraced the rigour of the review, and the conversations that were happening outside of that review.”

“Now is the time to show Canadians and the world that we have had the healthy debate, that we have had a rigorous review, and we will get on to build the project,” he added.

Anderson also noted that only 66 of the 1,200 permits needed for construction of the pipeline have so far been approved. Earlier in the day, it was reported that Minister Carr had sent a letter to the National Energy Board endorsing the creation of a standing panel to expedite resolution of conflicts over municipal and provincial permits. Currently Kinder Morgan is amidst an appeal to the NEB, saying that the city of Burnaby is wrongly withholding construction permits for TMEP.

Notley concluded the event, making a case for the “progressive” approach wherein climate change issues are addressed while also supporting the livelihoods of workers and their families.

“By capping these [oil sands GHG] emissions, the Trans Mountain pipeline does not contribute to climate change…Those who say otherwise are just playing politics, and they are playing politics with the jobs and livelihoods of working people,” said Premier Notley, “The only thing the pipeline will increase is prosperity for Canadians and jobs for many.”

Added Notley, “We can prove to the world that you can support working people and tackle the planet’s most pressing problem. Or we can choose one over the other, and fail on both.”

Notley also referenced the importance of Alberta’s energy industry to B.C. and Canada as a whole. She pointed out that in 2014, there were 44,000 people living in B.C. who worked in Alberta, earning $2 billion in income—and that these B.C. residents paid taxes in B.C. and supported local businesses with their earnings. She also noted that Alberta, due in large part to a robust energy sector, is a significant net contributor to the Canadian federation. On a per capita basis, Alberta is highest, contributing $5,148/person/year in transfer payments; the next closest is B.C. where the per capita contribution is $886/person/year.

“Alberta contributes $22 billion per year more to Ottawa than we receive in return, even after the effects of the recession arising from the downturn,” she said. “I raise this only to say that Alberta’s energy industry is a dominant part of what makes Canada tick.

“There is not a school, hospital, bus, road, bike lane or a port that doesn’t owe something to a strong energy industry.”

Notley’s speech was greeted with a standing ovation by the audience at the Energy Forum. Notley’s full speech is available below, courtesy CBC.

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