Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer pushed his plan for a national energy corridor Saturday, saying it remained the only as a way to benefit the struggling oil-and-gas sector, as well as the environment.
Scheer made the announcement in Edmonton, just a day after hundreds of thousands of young people poured into the streets in cities across Canada demanding action from leaders on fighting climate change and of course insisting that fossil fuels to stay in the ground.
He stayed away from any of the marches but insisted his energy corridor plan takes the environment into account.
“This will allow the federal government (to work) with provinces to identify the environmental challenges that have to be addressed by project proponents, and then those proponents will have to meet those standards in order for projects to proceed. So, this is a balanced approach that achieves the dual goals of protecting the environment and allowing Canada to extract its natural resources.”
The national energy corridor would carry oil, gas, hydroelectricity and telecommunications from coast to coast, Scheer said. Such a plan would increase certainty for investors, help get critical projects built and generate economic and social benefits for all Canadians, he said.
Scheer pointed out that such an energy corridor helps every province in this country – refinery jobs in Eastern Canada, manufacturing jobs in Ontario and Quebec, the millions in revenue allows for better federal government support for provincial programs for health and education. In short, every Canadian benefits, including those who insist fossil fuels should stay in the ground.
According to the Conservative plan, a task force will be appointed to provide recommendations, hold Indigenous consultations, define the role of provinces and a mutually agreeable route for the corridor.
The co-author of a 2016 University of Calgary paper looking at the idea of such a corridor has said building it could take half a century and cost $100 billion.
Critics of this plan may point out that in half a century, the world could well have moved away from dirty fuel and will have embraced other clean energy sources. -CINEWS