Years of messy pipeline approval processes have eroded the public’s trust in Canada’s ability to get its energy strategy right, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said in an interview with BNN.
Notley said the disruptions to TransCanada’s (TRP.TO) Energy East pipeline hearings earlier this month are symptomatic of a process that’s been dysfunctional for years.
“Over the last decade or more, various governments’ attempts to get pipelines built by taking shortcuts has resulted in the kind of delays that we’ve seen, and it’s also resulted in a decreasing level of public trust,” she said.
“We must develop our energy infrastructure, we must be able to get our product to tidewater because we need to have the ability to diversify our markets in a strategic way.”
Notley stopped short of echoing Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s warnings that pipeline politics could threaten national unity but said a cohesive energy strategy was imperative to the economy.
“It’s not necessarily in my view an issue of national unity per se, but overall, the health of Canada’s economy depends on us doing this strategically and intelligently,” she said. “If we don’t, national unity – among a whole bunch of other things – are going to be one of the things that are the subject of discourse.”
Notley said government, industry and other stakeholders need to bring cooler heads to the conversation to hammer out a strategy to benefit all three groups.
“What we need to do, for the economic wellbeing of all Canadians, is be grown up about all this.”