Trudeau chats with Fort Hills workers blames Harper for lack of pipelines

first_imgHis tour of the facility was led by Suncor CEO Steve Williams, who in February told the Financial Post that due to regulatory changes by the Trudeau government, his company would likely cut back on investments in Canada. The two were all smiles as Williams and Suncor staffers guided Trudeau around a Komatsu 980E heavy hauler, the Prime Minister even took a seat at the helm.“We’ve talked about market access, we’ve talked about market pressures which are the sum of taxation, royalties, the confidence in the regulatory process and I’m greatly encouraged by the conversation we’ve had today and I think it sort of speaks for itself,” said Williams. “The Prime Minister has taken the trouble to come here and spend some time with us and understand our challenges better so I think we’re going to get some help.”Williams went on to acknowledge how the environment for oilsands producers has changed in the last few years, from the price cut in 2014, taxation and regulatory overhauls along with the United-States going from their biggest customer to their biggest competitor, expediting the need for a pipeline to tidewater for foreign market access.While producers in the oilsands need that market access through pipeline, the province next door (British-Columbia) continues to throw up roadblocks. When Trudeau was asked head on what he’s doing about it, and how he’ll ensure the pipeline actually gets built, this was his response: “I’m continuing to engage regularly with British Columbia, there are a number of court cases going on that the Federal Government is monitoring closely, but as I said many times we have a regulatory process that was open, responsible, fair, heard from everyone, we made a decision around the fact that this pipeline is absolutely in the national interest, the federal government has the responsibility and ability to move forward on projects of the national interest, that’s exactly what we’re going to do, we’re going to get this pipeline built.”Trudeau’s visit to the region wrapped up with meetings with other oil executives as well as meeting with local First Nations and Metis leaders. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a visit to the oilsands on Friday, just a day after getting heckled and booed in Vancouver and Victoria for his approval of the TransMountain pipeline expansion. The project that has the neighbouring provinces of Alberta and B.C., at odds will see the pipeline’s capacity nearly triple from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day giving Alberta heavy oil access to much needed foreign markets.“Our government has been unequivocal, this pipeline is in the national interest and will get built. We had a regulatory process that went through, an examination, an engagement with partners, and it was determined that this Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion is in the national interest and that’s why it’s going to get built,” said Trudeau.He also didn’t take long to slam the Harper-era Conservatives by saying that through ten-years in power while Harper may have “topped up” the oilsands, his government wasn’t able to get a pipeline to tidewater approved because no one trusted them to protect the environment.Trudeau used that as an opportunity to once again tout his plan that links the environment and the economy.“Canadians are united on that, everyone wants to see their grandkids with both a protected natural world around them and good jobs and successful communities,” said Trudeau. “That’s something, we can and will work on together regardless of the fact that there’s still a choice to be made between either the economy or the environment, the only way to do this responsibly is to do this together.”Trudeau’s visit to Suncor’s Fort Hills site brought him to the most recently completed mega-project in the region, as when it hits full-production (within a month) it will produce 194,000 barrels of oil per day through its open pit mining operation.The Prime Minister, who gets more than his fair share of heat in this region spent 30-minutes in a lunch room with dozens of Fort Hills workers, answering questions off the cuff especially about the carbon tax and pipelines. Photo: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (middle) climbs the stairs into the cockpit of a Komatsu 780E heavy haul at Suncor’s Fort Hills oilsands site on Friday, Apr. 4, 2018. Bradley Karp / REPORTERlast_img

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