Posted on May 31, 2018

Getting pipelines built

Sherwood Park News - May 31, 2018

In Strathcona County, we live alongside industry. We know this partnership can strengthen our communities. We know working people throughout Strathcona County recognize their jobs, their mortgages and their families depend on a strong oil and gas sector. As the MLA for Strathcona-Sherwood Park, my priority is to make sure this pipeline gets built.

Premier Rachel Notley, in her recent address at the Sherwood Park and District Chamber of Commerce, asked local business leaders to work with us in making the case to people across the country for the Trans Mountain pipeline. I would like to take this opportunity to provide a further update that I know many wanted to see that day.

Tuesday’s announcement was a culmination of weeks of negotiations by our premier, who has been working diligently with Kinder Morgan and the federal government, to find a way to move forward given the unique obstacles faced by this project.

It is important to remember the Kinder Morgan expansion project will be the first direct pipeline to Canadian tidewater built since the 1950s. In a project of this magnitude, so clearly linked to the task of nation building, it has become the case that the public sector does have a role to play.

Premier Notley explained on Tuesday’s pipeline announcement that we would only be supportive of a solution as long as three condition where met. First, construction needs to resume immediately. Second, there needs to be certainty that the project would be completed. Lastly, Albertans need to see value for any investment that they made. This deal meets all these conditions.

By purchasing the project, the federal government now has the power to make sure it goes ahead due to the principle of crown immunity. Alberta has signed on to investing up to $2 billion to backstop any risk the project might face. The investment would only be payable once oil begins to flow through the pipeline and, at that point, our investment would be converted to equity, maximizing the return for Albertans.

We need to recognize that in a tough situation, failing to invest would be short-sighted and would ignore the needs of working families and Canada’s economy. The certainty provided by this deal will be especially important to our shippers, as they attract the single largest private-sector investments to Alberta and to Canada. This announcement helps them get product to market and helps us all get on the path to full and fair value for our resources. In doing so, we will ensure that good, long-term, mortgage-paying jobs are created for people and for families. That is what this is all about.

By way of contrast, the solution being suggested by United Conservative leader Jason Kenney has been rebuked by many. He insists the way to move forward is to invoke 92(10)(c) of the constitution, an action that many lawyers, economists and reporters have explained would only have a symbolic affect and would fail to provide the power to actually allow for construction to continue. Rather than hurling insults and engaging in political theatre for political theatre’s sake, we made the choice to roll up our sleeves, bring people together, and do whatever it takes to create jobs, get our resources to market, and support working Albertans.

We said that we would meet the deadline; we’ve met the deadline. We said that we would provide certainty; we’re providing certainty. We said that we’ll get this pipeline built; we’re getting this pipeline built. We will not stop until the job is done.