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

Gas war in Stettler continues

One gas station selling gas for as low as 112.9

Castor soccer in full swing

Gus Wetter School

UCP riding candidates square off in Stettler

Three vying to be UCP candidate

Summer jobs good for teens: Peter Boys

Teens who work summer jobs end up with better jobs later on

Remember to vote for your candidate: MLA Strankman

Voting from Sept. 27 - 29 in six communities

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Trudeau looks to restart Canada’s UN charm offensive in New York City

Freeland says the question of job retraining in the 21st century — and the uncertainty that surrounds it — is the federal government’s central preoccupation.

Calgary mayor seeks person who leaked details of closed-door Olympic meeting

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he will ask the city’s integrity commissioner to investigate a leak of details from an in-camera council meeting.

Edmonton cannabis company revenues more than triples to $19.1 million

Aurora Cannabis revenues more than triple in fourth quarter

Seattle one step closer to NHL after arena plan approved

Seattle City Council unanimously approved plans for a privately funded $700 million renovation of KeyArena

Hockey league gets $1.4M for assistance program after Humboldt Broncos crash

Program will help players, families, coaches and volunteers after the shock of the deadly crash

Canada has removed six out of 900 asylum seekers already facing U.S. deportation

Ottawa had said the ‘overwhelming majority’ had been removed

Most Read