Jason Kenney criticizes federal judges on Trans Mountain pipeline case

Federal judges out of touch in Trans Mountain pipeline expansion case, says Kenney

Alberta’s Opposition Leader says the federal judges who overturned approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion are out of touch with the real world.

“They keep moving the goalposts on what is required,” Jason Kenney, leader of the United Conservatives, said in Calgary Thursday. “This is what is creating massive investor uncertainty.

“I think (judges) sometimes they write these decisions in an academic bubble not realizing the real-world consequences.”

The Federal Court of Appeal overturned Ottawa’s approval of the pipeline, which would have doubled the line from Edmonton to the B.C. coast and tripled the amount of oil shipped to fetch a better price on overseas markets.

The panel of three judges cited lack of consultation with Indigenous groups and a failure to address the impact on marine traffic.

Kenney said the National Energy Board made it clear it did not have regulatory responsibility over marine traffic in its review of Trans Mountain.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was to comment later Thursday.

RELATED: Notley pulling Alberta out of federal climate plan after pipeline decision

Trudeau said on Twitter he spoke with Notley on Thursday and “reassured her that the federal government stands by the TMX expansion project and will ensure it moves forward in the right way.”

Kenney said Notley has not helped matters by prematurely celebrating the construction of the pipeline while imposing a carbon tax in the mistaken belief it would provide so-called “social licence” that would persuade environmental opponents to stand down.

Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel also said Notley was guilty of premature celebration after Trudeau’s government announced in May that it would buy Trans Mountain to ensure it got built.

“There was an incredible smugness about how this was going to go ahead,” said Mandel. “That just shows the naivete of what really happens in politics and nothing is for sure.”

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson and his Calgary counterpart Naheed Nenshi said they were disappointed with the court’s decision.

“This pipeline is a critical piece of infrastructure for our nation and it will provide important benefits from coast to coast,” Nenshi said in a statement.

The Trans Mountain line has dominated Alberta politics in the last year and it, along with everything it represents — including Alberta’s carbon tax — is expected to overshadow all other issues in the spring election.

Notley has said Alberta’s commitment to environmental stewardship — expressed through its carbon tax, commitment to phase out coal-fired electricity along with other green initiatives — allowed Trudeau’s government to follow through on its commitment to get the line built.

To that end, the federal government bought the line for $4.5 billion when owner Kinder Morgan Canada wavered this spring.

The pipeline is also a financial lifeline for Notley’s government, which has been running multibillion-dollar deficits while avoiding introducing a sales tax or making significant cuts to the budget.

The province has budgeted for increased pipeline access to drive non-renewable resource revenue to more than double to $10.4 billion by 2024 to balance the budget.

Political scientist Chaldeans Mensah said the ruling is a setback for the political fortunes of the NDP, which has been trailing the United Conservatives in opinion polls.

“This will certainly build into the narrative from the Conservatives that the idea of social licence, which was part of the NDP push on the issue, has not borne fruit,” said Mensah of MacEwan University in Edmonton.

RELATED: B.C. First Nations hail court’s quash of Kinder Morgan pipeline approval

Political scientist Duane Bratt said that while Notley cannot be faulted for the court decision, it’s still a political victory for Kenney.

“This is a major blow for Notley,” said Bratt, with Mount Royal University in Calgary.

He said Notley not only needs the pipeline, but needs substantial progress on it in time for the election campaign — something that now appears unlikely.

“Whether (the federal government) appeals to the Supreme Court or whether they simply do the modifications recommended by the Federal Court of Appeal, both of those take time,” said Bratt.

“And Notley’s out of time.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Crime Stoppers urges Lower Mainland residents to check these 9 safety items every night

Home security tips demonstrated at Cloverdale house on Wednesday

Hope raises almost $700 for Tillicum Centre

By purchasing art on display locally, community raised $690 for the adult centre

Calling all Fraser Canyon golfers: it’s time to tee into great summer savings

BC Lung Association is back to selling its Golf Savings Book

River Monsters attract nearly 300 swimmers to their two-day meet

This was the third year for the now-annual event

Harrison Hot Springs to consider single-use plastics ban

Village staff will come back to council with a report on what a possible ban could look like

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Men caught with illegal gun near Burnaby elementary school

They were sitting in a parked car near Cameron Elementary

Home care for B.C.’s elderly is too expensive and falls short: watchdog

Report says seniors must pay $8,800 a year for daily visits under provincial home support program

B.C. ‘struggling’ to meet needs of vulnerable youth in contracted care: auditor

Auditor general says youth in contracted residential services may not be getting support they need

Pair of B.C. cities crack Ashley Madison’s ‘Infidelity Hotlist’

Data from the website reveals Abbotsford and Kelowna hottest spots for cheaters

Life’s work of talented B.C. sculptor leads to leukemia

Former Salmon Arm resident warns of dangers of chemical contact

Billboard posted along B.C.’s Highway of Tears to remember missing and murdered Indigenous women

Billboards featuring Indigenous artwork to be placed in Surrey, Kamloops and near Prince George

Canada’s first dementia village close to opening

Langley project to provide home-like surroundings for between $83,400 and $93,600 a year

Unexpected snow blankets the Okanagan Connector

As of 6:50 a.m. DriveBC cameras displayed surprise snowfall on highway

Most Read