Amarjeet Sohi: Trans Mountain a top priority for Liberals
As minister of Natural Resources, and as a member of Parliament from Edmonton, not a single day has gone by since the last election where I have not talked about pipelines, stressed the importance of getting them built and taken action to support our energy sector.
Increasing market access for our natural resources is written right in my mandate letter from the prime minister, and I want all Edmontonians to know this is a priority for me and for our entire government.
We know the long-term solution to support our energy sector is, of course, to increase our capacity to ship our product — particularly to new markets other than the United States. Far from not being on the agenda, there is much being done on this front.
Hundreds of kilometres of pipe have been laid for the Line 3 pipeline, which is expected to be in operation later this year, adding capacity of 370,000 barrels per day. Our government has also continued to advocate for Keystone XL. In conversations with U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, I have spoken about this project and emphasized its importance. Pre-construction work on Keystone XL will be beginning soon.
On the Trans Mountain expansion project, the process continues to move forward in the right way through meaningful consultations with Indigenous communities.
The National Energy Board (NEB) is completing its review, assessing the submissions that have been submitted, including from the specially appointed marine technical advisor. The panel is also considering the actions we are taking to protect our coasts and the southern resident killer whale population, as well as our $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan. Their report will be submitted by Feb. 22.
Our government has also re-engaged all 117 Indigenous groups potentially affected by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, is advising our government to ensure we meet our constitutional obligations to meaningfully consult Indigenous peoples.
These consultations are ongoing with eight teams on the ground. Mr. Iacobucci held roundtables on the consultation approach, and I continue to meet and build relationships with these Indigenous communities.
Opposition parties choose what issues to raise in question period. Often it reflects the top headlines, the latest spin or what is trending on Twitter. Raising issues that are a priority to them is their responsibility and is important to our democracy.
However, beyond the 45 minutes of back and forth every day in question period, the thousands of hard-working employees of your government are busy serving you.
We will continue to do the hard work necessary to get our resources to market and to get the best price possible for our oil and gas. That’s what I was elected to do and what I am working each day to deliver.