Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was really pleased with his productive visit to India which has been framed as one about trade and business. In his meeting with Indian PM Narendra Modi they explored ways to ship Canadian oil and gas to India to meet its growing energy needs.
Scheer said he told the Indian leader he is serious about developing the energy sector and getting oil resources to market, including reviving the failed Energy East pipeline that would have delivered Canadian oil to the East Coast, so it could be shipped to India.
TransCanada abandoned its Energy East pipeline project last fall, citing non-specific “changed circumstances.”
Supporters of the project blamed costs and delays due to federal regulatory demands, while others have said it succumbed to simple market forces.
In an interview, Scheer said he blames the Liberals, reiterating the criticism he’s levelled recently in the House of Commons.
During an exchange with Scheer last month in the Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the plug was pulled on the project because a private company made a business decision based on the falling price of oil.
Scheer characterized his conversation with Modi as “warm,” saying his host wanted his take on the recently completed renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Scheer said he told Modi what he has been saying in public.
“This was a challenging time for Canada. Obviously, what we had under the original NAFTA was very good. Canada prospered greatly from it,” said Scheer.
Scheer said he wanted to send a message to Modi that if the Conservatives form government in 2019, they will make India a major focus of efforts to expand free trade agreements.
Scheer acknowledged there are still many hurdles to be cleared in pursuing trade with India, but he suggested the country offers better prospects than some destinations.
Scheer also held meetings on Sunday with India’s foreign affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, and the Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri. On the business front, his week-long visit included meetings with prominent business leaders. -CINEWS