Trans Mountain Expansion Ruling on Indigenous Consultation

The Federal Court of Appeal ruling is welcome, but it is not enough. The reality is the Liberals’ mistakes and failures directly delayed the Trans Mountain Expansion by more than two years. It was supposed to enter service two months ago, in December of 2019, but instead, that was when construction started.

The Federal Government’s own 2019 Fall Fiscal Update says a lack of pipelines reduced investment in oil and gas causing over 200,000 jobs lost in the oil and gas sector.

One pipeline that can export to global markets is not enough. The Liberals eliminated two other recent opportunities to do the same by killing the approved Northern Gateway and Energy East pipelines. The existing Trans Mountain Pipeline is not an export pipeline, as it currently transports 53% of its oil to the United States and a further 24% to the Burnaby refinery.

The Liberals passed a law - the ‘no more pipelines’ Bill C-69 - that private sector experts and economists say will result in no new private sector pipelines proposed or built in Canada.

There is no plan to give the private sector the confidence to invest in building the new infrastructure required to get Canadian energy to global markets.

There is no public timeline, in service date, or budget for the construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion.

The Liberals have no plan to deal with anti-energy activists that are prepared to break the law to stop this project.

Here is what opponents say, they will “continue to fight this project and their international allies will support them in whatever way they can,” that “Attempts to block expansion will be “even larger and more disruptive than last year,” that “No matter who approves it, this pipeline will not be built,” and that “we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to stop this pipeline.”

When asked, the Finance Minister would not say that all of the legal obstacles to the construction of the Trans Mountain Expansion ended with this ruling. He cannot confirm this because groups opposed to the Trans Mountain Expansion currently have an application before the Supreme Court challenging the Liberals’ second approval of the project in June of 2019. This does not include the speculation by participants in today’s decision about appealing the results of today’s ruling to the Supreme Court in the near future.  

Which is why it is concerning the Liberals still refuse to tell Canadians what they will do differently this time than what they did in 2016 to ensure construction proceeds.

The Liberals failure to use the full powers available to the federal government to move this project forward, and their continued moving of the goal-posts to approve the Teck Frontier oil sands mine, is what is causing the crisis in confidence of job creators and investors that Canada is a place where big infrastructure projects can still be built.

The Liberals made Canadians owners of the Trans Mountain Expansion – they owe it to Canadians to answer these questions.