Confidence in Canada: Our advocacy for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project
May 30, 2018
The Government of Canada announced its intent on May 29, 2018 to purchase the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. While the government getting involved in a private sector issue is never the preference, in this instance it became a necessary step for a Project deemed in the national interest to move forward.
The dispute between the Alberta and BC governments over the movement of diluted bitumen through our neighbouring provinces had become a significant issue facing the broader business community.
The Trans Mountain Expansion Project represents a large economic opportunity in its own right, however this dispute has taken on broader significance as a symbol of Canada’s inability to build major projects.
As it was demonstrably positive for Canada from an economic, social, and environmental perspective to move ahead, your Calgary Chamber, along with many others, called on the federal government to take what action necessary to make this Project happen.
Summing it up: A recap of Trans Mountain Expansion advocacy:
- Leading up to last year’s provincial election in BC, the Chamber reported to the business community on how the election could impact Calgary’s economy. Following the election, on May 31, 2017, we outlined what the BC NDP-Green coalition could mean for Alberta businesses, and detailed their opposition against the Trans Mountain Expansion.
- On November 24, 2017, the Chamber hosted Alberta Premier Rachel Notley for a keynote address to Calgary’s business community on the importance of pipelines and market access.
- The BC Government proposed on January 30, 2018 to limit the increase in oil sands crude flowing through their province. In response, we provided a detailed blog that outlined the announcement, how it could impact the Trans Mountain Expansion and our economy, along with how Alberta and federal policymakers could respond.
The Chamber continued to provide analysis as new developments emerged – creation of Alberta’s Market Access Task Force, prohibition on imports of BC wine, and the BC government’s preparation of a reference case—seeking judicial clarification on whether a province has jurisdiction to regulate what flows through federally approved pipelines.
- Along with over 100 other business organizations across Canada, the Chamber sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling on the Federal government to ensure the Trans Mountain Expansion moves forward, and to sustain investor confidence in Canada.
- Following Kinder Morgan’s announced intentions to halt all non-essential activities related to the pipeline expansion, the Chamber called on the federal government to address the route issues impacting Trans Mountain and discouraging investment—absent rule of law, regulatory costs and uncertainty, and fractured national market.
- On April 18, 2018 the Calgary Chamber along with 23 other Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade along the pipeline route submitted a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling on the Federal and BC governments to remove the barriers preventing the Federally approved pipeline from being built. The letter outlined the economic, social, and environmental benefits associated with Trans Mountain.
- As part of the Canadian Global Cities Council – a group of Canada’s eight largest Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade – the Chamber published an op-ed in the Globe and Mail to illustrate the harm that internal trade barriers have on our country.
- On May 2, 2018 the Chamber provided a detailed analysis of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R v. Comeau (also known as the “free the beer” case). This decision could impact internal trade for many years to come.
- Following the Federal government’s May 16, 2018 commitment to provide indemnification support for the Trans Mountain Expansion, the Chamber issued a media statement welcoming the announcement and encouraging further action by the federal government.
- On May 17, 2018 the Calgary Chamber joined the Edmonton Chamber and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade to host the Federation Flight.
This day long summit brought together a coalition of over 100 BC and Alberta business, Indigenous, community, and labour leaders in Edmonton to reinforce the fundamental partnership between Canadian businesses and show support for Trans Mountain.
The Summit included a meeting at the Alberta legislature, a luncheon address with Premier Notley, and the opportunity for the Chamber to promote Calgary’s business interest to the Premier’s Market Access Task Force. The Federation Flight was covered in over 100 media stories and trended nationally on Twitter.
- On May 29, 2018 Federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau announced that the federal government reached an agreement to buy the Trans Mountain Expansion in order to ensure the expansion moves forward. Following the announcement, we provided our support for the completion of the pipeline project.
- On May 30, 2018 the Chamber hosted Federal Minister of Finance Bill Morneau to address the business community on the federal government’s agreement with Kinder Morgan, their plans to ensure the pipeline is built, and how the Federal government will work to sustain investor confidence.
While it is never our preference to see a government get involved in private enterprise, the Federal government took a necessary step to ensure that a project deemed in the national interest moved forward.
The Chamber, along with many others, called on the government to take whatever action necessary to make this project happen. To their credit, they followed through on that call.
With decreasing investor confidence in Canada’s oil and gas industry, the potential billions of dollars forgone due to pipeline constraints, and the significant barriers to free trade within Canada, it is perhaps more important than ever to stand up and show support for our resource sector and Canada’s federation.
The Calgary Chamber will continue to seize every opportunity to advocate for our resource sector, for the removal of internal trade barriers, and to promote the interests of Calgary’s business community.