Fed energy minister draws fire

During last week’s conference of Canadian energy ministers in Kananaskis, Alberta, federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver pulled no punches in outlining his support for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.

During last week’s conference of Canadian energy ministers in Kananaskis, Alberta, federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver pulled no punches in outlining his support for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project.

“We are supportive of the Gateway project because it will open up exports”, he said.

And that comment, coming  while the project is still under review, has raised the ire of the northwest’s MP.

“It’s troubling to see a federal minister promoting a project that’s currently under review. You would think that Enbridge has enough lobbyists; they don’t need the minister of Natural Resources shilling for them too,” said Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen.

“I don’t know how people are supposed to put their trust in a review process when the minister in charge is already saying he wants to build the pipeline.”

Alberta Energy minister Ron Liepert said he wanted to see the federal cabinet “expedite that decision” while Oliver said votes taken at the summit were unanimous – although Ontario and BC Energy ministers were absent.

As well, Oliver said the pipeline was in the national interest as it would reduce Canada’s dependence on the shaky US energy market as a buyer.

“I’m not sure what the minister is thinking when he says the pipeline is in the ‘national interest’,” said Cullen.

“Many of BC’s communities depend on river and marine resources for their livelihoods. And First Nations have clearly said no to the pipeline passing through their traditional territory,” he added.

“The only interests he seems to be thinking about are those of the oil company.”

North Coast NDP MLA Doug Donaldson – he’s the provincial party’s energy and mines critic – called on premier Christy Clark to “stand up on behalf of the people of this province and oppose this pipeline.”