EXCLUSIVE: Trudeau minister says Canadians who want natural resource development have “no regard” for the environment or First Nations
In March, Liberal Minister of Natural Resources, Amarjeet Sohi claimed that Canadians who want to develop pipelines have no regard for the environment or indigenous communities while speaking at a conference on energy.
Sohi spoke at CERAWeek, a conference hosted by the Cambridge Energy Research Associates in Huston, Texas. In attendance were counterparts from Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, among others.
“I would say building pipelines is very challenging,” said Sohi pointing to the polarization around the issue on natural resource development.
“You have the other sector of the population who wants resource development without any regard for the environment and any regard for the indigenous communities’ involvement.”
The answer came as a response to a question on how to engage Canadians and build trust on the issue of pipelines and energy infrastructure.
Since being elected, Justin Trudeau has been faced with a stalled effort to build the Trans Mountain Pipeline. After his government bought the project for $4.5B last year, it was revealed that the consultations had been faulty, pushing the pipeline’s development into the unforeseeable future. Later, it also came to light that the federal government might have over payed for the contract by a whopping $1 billion.
Amarjeet has since claimed that there is “no guarantee” of a decision on the project before the election but believes the government is making significant progress with regards to consultations.
Since being elected, Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney has promised that his government would increase the pressure on the federal government to deliver on its promise to create the pipeline. Despite facing pressure from the province of British Columbia threatening to restrict oil shipments off its coast, a court of appeal recently ruled that the threat was unconstitutional.
Some indigenous communities have also in fact come to announce their support for the project, citing the boost in economic activity and job creation as their reasoning. Several Western Canadian First Nations groups have expressed a desire to place a bid to get a stake of the project to have the pipeline built.