Kelowna Chamber of Commerce president Carmen Sparg. —Image: contributed

Kelowna chamber reiterates its support for Trans Mountain Pipeline

Local chamber says it supports Canadian chamber’s Day in Support of pipeline project

The Kelowna Chamber of Commerce threw its support behind the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Day of Support for the Trans Mountain Pipeline Wednesday on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

“The national Day of Support shows federal politicians they the support of thousands of Canadians, from communities across the country, to do what they need to in order to ensure this project is built,” said Carmen Sparg, president of the Kelowna chamber.

“The $7.4 billion project will allow Canada to get one of its most valuable natural resources to international markets and allow Canadian companies to get a fair price for their product. The Trans Mountain (Pipeline) expansion will create thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars in economic activity across the country.”

The plan by Kinder Morgan to expand the existing pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the B.C. Lower Mainland has proved controversial, with many organizations and Indigenous groups in B.C., as well as the B.C. government, opposing the plan.

In response, the Alberta government has threatened to cut off oil supplies to B.C. if Victoria continues to try and stall, or derail, the project through delays, reviews and legal challenges.

Earlier this week, the B.C. government shot back announcing it was taking the Alberta government to court over its recently passed legislation allowing Alberta to curtail oil supplies to B.C., a move seen as a tactic to pressure the B.C. government into backing off its pipeline expansion opposition.

Meanwhile, the federal government, which has jurisdiction over the project, has said publicly it will go ahead and has offered to financially backstop the project.

But Kinder Morgan has set May 31 as the date it wants to know for certain if the project is to be allowed to proceed unencumbered. If the deadline is not met, it has threatened to shelve the pipeline expansion.

Chambers of commerce across the country supported the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Day in Support of TMX (Trans Mountain Expansion) Wednesday. In Ottawa, Canadian chamber officials and other supporters planned to hold meetings with all three major federal parties and hold a media event at the National Press Theatre to push for moving the pipeline project ahead, stressing its impact on Canada’s economy.

“If the project does not proceed it will be economically disastrous for Canada and will send a terrible signal to investors at home and abroad, says the Kelowna chamber.

It says despite receiving the necessary regulatory approvals after undergoing a “rigorous, scientifically sound, transparent,” multi-year review process, the B.C. government is trying to block the project.

Kinder Morgan has halted all non-essential spending on the project pending its May 31 deadline.

On Wednesday, provincial and territorial chamber presidents, association heads, corporate leaders, union representatives and Indigenous leaders helped the national chamber deliver its message to the federal politicians.

“Trans Mountain project is in the national interest and it has the support of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Now is the time to take concrete action to get it built,” said Sparg.

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