The federal Opposition leader is suggesting the Liberals have no intention of beginning the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion before next year’s election.
Andrew Scheer likens it to Monty Python’s dead parrot sketch because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants everyone to believe the Alberta-to-B.C. oil pipeline is still alive.
Scheer made his remarks at the Energy Relaunch conference in Calgary.
The Liberal government purchased the existing Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan earlier this year for $4.5 billion after the U.S. firm became frustrated by political roadblocks.
An expansion to nearly triple the line’s capacity is in limbo following a Federal Court of Appeal ruling in August that requires more Indigenous consultation and research into increased tanker traffic.
READ MORE: Trans Mountain CEO says pipe construction could restart in 2019 on NEB timeline
In his speech, Scheer accused Trudeau of being hostile to the energy sector and said a Conservative prime minister would get private companies to build market-opening pipelines.
“I believe it is Justin Trudeau’s strategy to not have this pipeline even started to be built by the next election. He just can’t admit that it will be dead by the next election,” Scheer said Thursday.
“It’s a little bit like the Monty Python dead parrot sketch. He just wants everyone to believe that it’s not quite gone yet.”
READ MORE: Federal court quashes approval of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion
Earlier in the day, Alberta’s United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney told the crowd that if he becomes premier after next spring’s election, he will set up a war room to take on critics of the province’s energy industry in real time.
Kenney said his “fight-back strategy” would also include paying legal bills for Indigenous communities in favour of resource development and targeting charitable groups that want to shut down Alberta’s energy industry.
He said Alberta would not do business with banks that have boycotted the oilsands.
“It’s time for us to identify our greatest points of leverage on these issues,” he said.
Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press