Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that the Canadian government is committed to ensuring the Trans Mountain pipeline project is completed despite Thursday’s ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal that nullified the project.
“We want to make sure this project gets done,” Morneau said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Thursday. “We want to make sure it happens and as a government, we’re well placed to assure that that happens. We’ll be moving forward with resolve.
“This project will be built. It needs to go through a process that ensures we consult appropriately and engage appropriately as identified by the court this morning.”
The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the regulatory review of the projection was “impermissibly flawed” because it excluded project-related tanker traffic. In addition, the court also found the government failed to fulfill the legal duty to consult indigenous people.
The pipeline has emerged as a pivotal file for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to ensure that exports from Alberta’s oil sands are diversified away from the U.S., which currently receives the bulk of Canada’s energy exports.
“Getting to international markets is critically important. That’s what we’re going to do with this project,” Morneau added.
Do you have confidence the Trans Mountain expansion will eventually be built?
The Canadian government said in May that it will purchase the 1,150-kilometre pipeline from Kinder Morgan Inc. for $4.5 billion but has run into voracious opposition from indigenous and environmental groups since it announced its plans to complete the project’s construction.
Morneau told BNN Bloomberg that the government is “taking in” the court’s 275-page ruling but noted that the decision “reinforced the importance that the government needs to get engaged” in the Trans Mountain pipeline.
“The court did ask us to get back [to them] promptly, which we expect to do,” Morneau said. “Big picture, what we’ve seen here is that we need to have a robust process. That’s something we’ve taken to heart.”
Morneau added the Kinder Morgan shareholder vote – which followed the court’s decision – to approve the sale of the pipeline to the Canadian government was “exepected, but positive” and the transaction will close in the coming days.
“We’re going to be here as long as it takes to make sure this project gets done in a way that allows it to move to the private sector,” Morneau said.