Vancouver’s mayor says the federal government is veering into “dangerous territory” in its insistence the Trans Mountain expansion project will be completed.
“The federal government has their position on it, but it becomes dangerous territory when you’re talking about overriding First Nations with unceded lands and provinces, which also have significant jurisdiction,” Gregor Robertson told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Tuesday.
“I think the B.C. government’s been very clear in their opposition. They were elected a year ago with a strong mandate to not support the pipeline,” he added. “So it’s by no means resolved and, on the west coast there’s a lot of unity around resistance to this pipeline and wanting to see a different kind of economy built across Canada.”
Robertson added that more focus should be placed on Kinder Morgan’s end of the bargain.
“In Kinder Morgan’s case there are scores of conditions for them to meet that they have not followed through on: Permits that they have to get, there is the First Nations issue which is obviously a critical issue for our country to be reconciling and addressing, and there are obviously inter-provincial concerns as well.”
Robertson weighed in on Canada’s global appeal to investors, saying critics are too narrowly focused on the country’s oil and gas sector.
“Fossil fuels is one industry,” Robertson told BNN Bloomberg. “It does not represent a massive job supply, if you compare it to other big industries across Canada.”
“We have to recognize the big picture here, and Canada should not be falling behind so many other countries in the transition to renewable energy. That is the future. That’s where the most dramatic growth is in the energy industry. We need to be leaders instead of followers.”
Robertson’s comments deepen the debate over Canada’s competitiveness, which has flared up once more in recent days on comments made by the finance minister last week.
Bill Morneau told BNN Bloomberg on Friday that he “won’t accept the frame that we’re not competitive.”
Canada’s competitiveness has been criticized by investors, executives and policymakers recently. Canoe Financial chairman W. Brett Wilson called Morneau’s boasting of Canada’s competitive position “delusional” in a BNN Bloomberg interview on Monday.
Robertson, though, said critics need to look beyond oil.
“We have to recognize the big picture here, and Canada should not be falling behind so many other countries in the transition to renewable energy,” he said.
“That is the future. That’s where the most dramatic growth is in the energy industry. We need to be leaders instead of followers.”