Soren­son calls for fed­eral lead­er­ship in pipe­line dis­pute

The Drumheller Mail - - NEWS - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

MP for Bat­tle River-Crow­foot, Kevin Soren­son, says lead­er­ship is lack­ing at the fed­eral level when it comes to the re­cent trade dis­pute be­tween Al­berta and Bri­tish Columbia.

Last week Al­berta Pre­mier Rachel Not­ley lifted her ban on the sale of B.C. wine, which was put in place in re­sponse to ac­tions by the BC gov­ern­ment op­pos­ing pipe­line de­vel­op­ment Soren­son says what is lack­ing is a strong fed­eral pres­ence.

“Our Prime Min­is­ter has had a hands-off ap­proach and I think it has led to pro­vin­cial con­flict,” Soren­son tells The Mail. “He promised us that he would meet more with pre­miers, and have more round ta­bles with pre­miers and tele­vise this, and na­tional unity would only grow. In the last two years, we have seen more prob­lems.”

He rec­og­nizes that in the last few days there has been progress.

“There has been some amends, Not­ley said we would back off from the wine ban, and they are go­ing to con­sider the bi­tu­men thing, but again, it’s a stall,” he said.

He says that Pre­mier Not­ley is con­fi­dent that Al­berta will win in front of the courts, as does he, how­ever, it is the time in­volved that irks him.

“Courts take a long time,” he said.

He adds there is a process that is in place to make sure these projects are dealt with fairly.

“We go through and have an in­de­pen­dent sci­en­tific ev­i­dence-based de­ci­sion-mak­ing process on whether a pipe­line should go for­ward. Is it safe en­vi­ron­men­tally? Is it needed eco­nom­i­cally? Is it go­ing to cre­ate jobs?” he said. “This has gone through all of that process and the Na­tional En­ergy Board has given it the check of ap­proval, we gave it the check of ap­proval and our cur­rent Prime Min­is­ter has is given it the check of ap­proval, now it is just be­ing stalled.”

He adds that this is a na­tional is­sue, be­yond just a squab­ble be­tween prov­inces.

“I think we will see that the Prime Min­is­ter’s lack of step­ping for­ward re­ally threat­ens jobs, it threat­ens in­vest­ment and that cap­i­tal is just leav­ing Al­berta,” he said.

“In the long term, if there is no se­cu­rity around a sim­ple de­ci­sion, that cap­i­tal doesn’t come in, that in­vest­ment isn’t made and those jobs aren’t cre­ated. That is why we are say­ing to the Prime Min­is­ter ‘ enough al­ready,’ you al­lowed the east­west one to stall, you al­lowed the North­ern Gate­way Project to stall only promis­ing us that this one would go ahead, and now you are slow step­ping up.”

He adds that Al­berta’s in­dus­try sup­ports the whole coun­try.

“If Cana­di­ans un­der­stood the im­por­tance that all of these jobs have. It means peo­ple in my con­stituency will be work­ing; it means they will be pay­ing in­come tax provin­cially and fed­er­ally. That is what funds our so­cial pro­grams, that is what funds our health­care, that is what funds our old age se­cu­rity and ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem,” he said.

Kevin Soren­son… MP for Bat­tle River-Crow­foot

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