Kent Hehr

Your member of parliament for


Calgary Centre

Kent Hehr

Your member of parliament for


Calgary Centre

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Building pipelines in the 21st century

Politicians of all stripes have been quick to comment, following our decision to approve and build the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX).

On one side, the federal NDP came out in vehement opposition to TMX, citing environmental concerns. There’s no doubt climate change is real and we need to take action – which is why every dollar our government earns from TMX revenue and corporate taxes will be invested directly into clean energy.

Billions of dollars will be funneled into a cleaner future as a result. And it’s combined with our government’s other climate actions, like putting a price on pollution, banning single-use plastics, investing $1.5 billion in the Oceans Protection Plan and doubling the amount of protected nature in Canada.

Clearly, Trans Mountain is in the national interest. It allows us to sell our oil to international markets at a better price, adding billions to the economy. It will generate work for 52,000 people.

The journey to cleaner energy cannot happen overnight. Oil and gas are a critical part of Canada’s economy, and it makes no sense to sell any resource at a discount.

On the opposite side, the Conservatives claim that they would have jammed the pipeline through sooner, Federal Court of Appeal be damned.

Spoiler alert: When the court tells you that better Indigenous consultations and environmental reviews are needed, there is no government mechanism for just ignoring them and going ahead anyway. Nor should there be.

Hearing Premier Kenney speak on TMX, I have to wonder, where was he for the 10 years his former federal Conservative government failed to build a single inch of pipeline to new markets?

Where has he while his former government created an abysmal project assessment system that neglected the environment, ignored Indigenous concerns, and led to legal troubles for projects (including TMX)?

Rather than kicking and screaming at the Court’s decision last year, or launching a lengthy and fruitless appeal, our Liberal government followed the court’s decision.

Now here we are, with construction ready to begin this season.

What the Conservatives don’t seem to realize is that in the 21st century, no matter how much you support a project, you cannot will it into existence. You cannot bully it into existence. You cannot tweet it into existence.

It’s true outside of Canada as well. In the USA, under the leadership of President Trump, Keystone XL and Enbridge Line 3 are both caught up in court due to environmental and Indigenous concerns.

Our Liberal government promised to grow the economy while protecting the environment. Unlike the NDP or Conservatives, we believe these goals are not irreconcilable. A fair, middle-ground approach is possible.

That’s what we’ve done with TMX.

And let’s be clear, it wasn’t a taxpayer-funded provincial advertising campaign that sealed the deal, no matter how many millions of dollars were thrown at bus stop ads extolling the pipeline’s virtues.

Our path to approval took years of commitment, both to the project and to addressing legitimate environmental and Indigenous concerns.

Our government persevered. Bottom line: we delivered.

Our government purchased the pipeline for $4.5 billion. We respected the court ruling. We are using the earnings to invest in clean energy. We are opening TMX up to Indigenous groups who are interested, whether through ownership, equity or royalties.

And we’re doing more for the environment than any government in Canada’s history.

It’s not what my colleagues in other parties would do.

But in today’s world, it’s the only way forward.

Kent Hehr
Member of Parliament, Calgary Centre

 

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