Scheer proposes new transnational energy ‘corridor'
OTTAWA - Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer made a stop in Edmonton on Saturday to announce a new "corridor" that would move energy and resources across Canada.
Speaking at FourQuest Energy, Scheer said the new passage way would move not just oil, but also natural gas, hydroelectricity, and telecommunications with the goal to "generate economic and social benefits for the entire country," as stated in the party’s press release.
He said if elected, the Conservatives would appoint a "blue-ribbon" task force to consult with interest groups – including Indigenous peoples – and provide recommendations on the next steps within the first six months of their mandate.
"As Canadians, we need to start dreaming big again, and we need to start dreaming together," said Scheer in the press release. "We need to start building a stronger, more united country worthy of those who came before us and that our children and grandchildren deserve."
The Liberal party has faced an uphill battle trying to get legal approval to move forward with the Trans Mountain pipeline. After purchasing it in 2018 from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion, they have since struggled with getting the go-ahead from Indigenous communities, environmentalists, and provincial governments – some of whom have launched legal challenges.
When asked how the Conservative party would navigate these hurdles, Scheer said he’d manage the process differently.
"I am convinced with this idea, we can address some of the concerns that Indigenous communities have, that provinces may have, and do the environmental assessments all up front," said Scheer. "I can understand the frustration of people who are concerned about the climate because of the failure of Justin Trudeau’s handling of the environment."
Eli Enns, a research associate at the University of Victoria and president of the Iisaak Olam Foundation, says that while he appreciates any nation-wide effort to bind Canadians together, some First Nations may be upset by being lumped in with other interest groups.
"Putting Indigenous communities in with other stakeholders will immediately throw First Nations across Canada up in arms."
He added that it’s “unrealistic” to think a Scheer government would have more success than past governments in advancing a cross-jurisdictional passageway.
The announcement comes a day after a nation-wide climate strike. Scheer was the only major federal party leader not to march in any of the events. Instead, he campaigned in Vancouver and assured media that Conservative candidates would be attending their own local protests.
Scheer is now in the Edmonton Centre riding meeting with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
Speaking to supporters at a Conservative rally alongside Scheer, Kenney touted the party’s new energy announcement before introducing the federal leader.
"Andrew understands that Alberta and our resources industries have been a critical part of Canada’s prosperity," he said. "We want to be able to develop those resources so we can continue playing a key role as an important province."
CTVNews.ca reached out to the Liberals in response to today’s announcement, but have not yet received comment.