The Rejection of the Trans Mountain Pipeline

Calgary Elbow

The rejection of the Trans Mountain pipeline was a nasty surprise for many because it came on the heels of what was supposed to be a thorough process by a world-class regulator. I’m angry because this project is urgently needed. It would create badly-needed, high-quality jobs, it would generate taxes to support core programs, and it would enable the continued responsible expansion of Canadian energy projects.

And make no mistake, building Trans Mountain is also good for the environment. Canada is a world leader in technologies to lower emissions, reduce the amount of fresh water used in energy production, and shrink the land required for energy development. These things simply won’t happen if there’s not enough development to support this important research and development.

In the big picture, this decision causes me to wonder what it will take to get vital infrastructure, or any infrastructure of any kind, built in modern Canada. Digging into the reasons the court gave for rejecting the project tells us there’s a larger problem when it comes to energy infrastructure development in Canada, and this problem isn’t new.

The courts have been definitive in finding that successive federal governments have let Albertans and all Canadians down by failing in their constitutional duties to adequately consult Indigenous people. And while our premier would lay the blame only at the feet of the feds, her words ring hollow. Her plan to pull out of a Federal climate plan that is nearly a year and a half away from implementation may make for a few good headlines, but it doesn’t get Trans Mountain or any other pipeline any closer to being built.

Alberta should do what we do best, and that’s lead. Instead of sitting on the sidelines and pointing fingers, Alberta should lead a Supreme Court test case that would define once and for all what adequate consultation means. We should also work harder to make the case that Canadian pipelines are good for the environment. This government has let us down by assuming their carbon tax alone would gain us the “social license” required to build this pipeline. We know now how wrong they are.

Pipelines are vital to Alberta and Canadian economic and energy independence, and they’re important for the environment. With an unstable southern trading partner, opening up new, diversified markets is the only way to ensure our long-term prosperity as a province and nation, and to returning to the high paying jobs and bustling labour market that we enjoyed for so long.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this issue with me. You can reach my office at [email protected].