CALGARY – Canada’s finance minister says the best way to convince a skeptical oilpatch that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion Ottawa approved Tuesday will actually be built is to go ahead and build it.
Bill Morneau told reporters after giving a speech in downtown Calgary that the $7.4-billion project to triple capacity on the line from Edmonton to the West Coast is moving ahead with getting permits.
He repeated a commitment made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday that construction on the project will begin in this year’s building season, without being specific as to exactly when.
In his speech to the Economic Club of Canada, Morneau acknowledged the “huge amount of anxiety” in Calgary over the future of the oil and gas sector despite the federal approval nearly 10 months after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the pipeline’s 2016 approval.
He insisted Canada can approve pipelines and still battle climate change, drawing a link between the issue of global warming and Western Canada’s wildfire problem this spring.
But much of the speech was devoted to an election-style listing of his government’s economic accomplishments over the past three years — a federal election is expected in October.
“What we said yesterday was that we renewed that (pipeline) approval,” Morneau told reporters.
“What’s happening today is we’re back at work. The re-permitting is happening starting today. We are going to get work going this construction season. I want people in Alberta and people across the country to know that intent is real.”