BY BOB ZIMMER
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP
As Kinder Morgan’s deadline to make a decision about whether or not to move forward with the Trans Mountain Expansion project draws closer, I know many of you have been wondering what, if any, concrete action the Liberal government is going to take to ensure that this important project gets built.
Recently, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the Liberals will provide taxpayer dollars as compensation to Kinder Morgan investors if the project is unnecessarily delayed. He also announced that if Kinder Morgan did not accept the offer, the Liberals would be prepared to subsidize any new investor willing to take up the project.
Unfortunately, nothing the finance minister said will ensure that the Trans Mountain Expansion actually gets built.
In fact, since the announcement, Kinder Morgan’s CEO has stated that the taxpayer dollar offer doesn’t put the project back on the “front burner.” Kinder Morgan wants certainty and a “clear path to build in British Columbia.”
Unbelievably, with only days to go before the deadline, the Liberals still don’t have a concrete plan to remove delays in order to get the Trans Mountain Expansion built.
As the Official Opposition, our Conservative Caucus continues to ask the Liberals for a plan and specific details. We pushed for an emergency debate in the House of Commons on the issue in April and used that time to try to get answers for Canadians.
I know that this is an issue that will directly affect workers in our region, which is why during the debate I used the example of one welder, Neacail, who relies on energy sector jobs to feed his family and asked for answers on behalf of workers like him. Like my colleagues, I received nothing but vague non-answers. Our energy sector deserves better.
The Liberal government has had a year-and-a-half to come up with a plan to ensure that this important project gets built. However, instead of taking action and establishing a concrete plan, they have done nothing while roadblock after roadblock has been thrown in the way of Kinder Morgan.
The fact that the only solution the Liberal government has proposed is using taxpayer dollars to backstop this project is further evidence of their failed energy policy.
It is unbelievable to me that a project that Canadians support, will create thousands of jobs, and will help our economy, is being put on taxpayer-funded life support.
The Liberal government vetoed the approved Northern Gateway pipeline and killed the Energy East pipeline. Their decision to impose an oil tanker ban, a job-killing carbon tax and new regulations that penalize Canadian oil exports have damaged investor confidence and forced companies to reconsider future projects. Now, the Trans Mountain Expansion is at risk because the Liberals have put Canada at a serious competitive disadvantage.
My Conservative colleagues and I will continue to demand that the government come up with a real plan to address this crisis. We will also continue to champion our energy sector and the vital role it plays in Canada’s economy.