Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was in Red Deer to discuss the recent nationalization of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
In her speech, at the event at the Black Knight Inn put on by the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce, Notley thanked those present for their work advocating to ensure the embattled pipeline gets built.
Notley also looked to reassure Albertans who are concerned about turning Trans Mountain into a Crown corporation.
“One of the things people need to understand is that what we are talking about here is not a blank cheque, it is an investment,” Notley said. “For the Government of Canada — yes they are investing right now, but what we know from excessive due diligence by the Government of Canada and the Provincial Government is that this is a project which is a profit-making project.
“Taxpayers are not going to lose on this and when the Federal Government divests its interest, they will undoubtedly see a profit. There isn’t a high level of risk there.”
For Alberta, Notley said that the maximum $2 billion that the Government of Alberta will front to cover overages on the project is an investment that will see a return as equity in the project and also an increased value after the Federal Government divests their interest.
Notley also said opposition to Trans Mountain in the form of protests is a fundamental Canadian right, but said the concern that Trans Mountain will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions is misleading because of the Alberta Government’s cap on emissions.
“This is not about increasing greenhouse gas emissions, this is solely about getting returns for the people of this country who are the owners of these resources,” she said. “Pipelines are safer than rail, which is where this product would be if it is not in a pipeline. We aren’t going to stop production — it will just be on rail where it is more dangerous.”
She added the creation of the pipeline also comes with a Federal Government’s commitment to coastline protection and that the protection of Canadian workers is key to Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan.
“A plan that throws working people under the bus and considers them as faceless collateral damage is a plan that will fail,” Notley said.
Federal Conservative nationalization opposition
Notley also addressed criticism from Conservative Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer, who has warned against public investment in Trans Mountain.
“To the federal leader of the Conservatives, I will say they had nine years in Ottawa to get this pipeline built,” Notley said. “They had a Conservative government in Alberta and effectively a Conservative government in B.C. and they couldn’t get the job done.
“I am pleased to say we have moved forward on this pipeline and the federal Conservatives should stop cheering for its demise.”
Notley was also questioned on whether the success of Trans Mountain will have any effect on the Alberta NDP’s chances in an upcoming election.
Notley instead deferred to the importance of building the pipeline over election concerns.
“I am very much focused on doing the job I am elected to do which is to support, among other things, economic growth and ensuring that we can establish a healthy, sustainable, successful Alberta energy sector going forward,” she said. “What this pipeline announcement has done is helped take a big step towards those goals, while supporting the jobs it creates.”
She added, “We are a long way way from any election.”