Thousands of people gathered outside the Alberta government’s building in downtown Calgary on Tuesday afternoon to voice their support for oil pipelines as the future of a major project hangs in the balance.
The people who converged on the McDougall Centre’s grounds at about 4 p.m. were very loud in calling for both Ottawa and Alberta’s NDP government to take further action to ensure the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project goes ahead.
View photos from Tuesday’s pipeline rally in Calgary in the gallery below:
Canada Action says it helped to coordinate the rally along with Rally for Resources.
On its website, Canada Action describes itself as “strong supporters” of the oilsands and as a “volunteer-led grassroots movement encouraging Canadians to take action and work together in support of our vital natural resources sector.”
The Calgary protest was set to feature speakers from various political stripes, including Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney, the Alberta NDP’s Municipal Affairs Minister Shaye Anderson and federal Conservative MP Michelle Rempel.
Watch below: Some videos from Global News’ ongoing coverage of the controversy surrounding the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.
Over the weekend, the company hoping to complete the Trans Mountain expansion project announced it was scaling back work on the federally approved $7.4-billion project. Kinder Morgan says it made that decision because of fierce opposition and delays from the B.C. government. The company has also run into difficulties with the City of Burnaby and seen large protests take place at one of its work sites.
Ottawa approved the pipeline’s expansion in November 2016 but progress has been hampered by court challenges and permit issues since.
The project would triple the pipeline’s capacity to carry oilsands bitumen from Alberta to the West Coast. B.C. Premier John Horgan says he is worried that it threatens his province’s coastline and wants assurances about what would happen in the event of an oil spill.
Kinder Morgan has set a May 31 deadline for the federal Liberal government to give the company solid assurance the project will be able to be completed.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has threatened sanctions against the B.C. government if it continues to block the project’s advancement. This week, she said she will ensure the pipeline expansion project proceeds, even if it means Alberta has to become the primary investor.
“We are considering a number of financial options to ensure that the Trans Mountain expansion is built, up to and including purchasing the pipeline outright if were to come to that,” Notley said in a statement on Tuesday. “But it is not the only model we’re considering.
“Obviously the best interest and outcomes for Albertans will be front and centre as we explore these options.”
In light of Kinder Morgan’s threat to abandon the project, some political commentators have suggested the Trans Mountain pipeline dispute threatens to pose a consitutional crisis in Canada because B.C’s provincial government is seen to be blocking a federally approved project from proceeding.
A similar rally is being planned for the Alberta legislature in Edmonton on Thursday afternoon.
More to come…
-With files from The Canadian Press
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