Former prime minister Brian Mulroney says the regulatory process governing pipeline approval is being “gamed” by people who want to disrupt any oilsands development, and is urging Justin Trudeau to spearhead a “concerted and coherent strategy” to build energy infrastructure.
Mulroney told an audience at a private event held Tuesday by the Business Council of Canada that the federal government must co-ordinate with provinces and First Nations to move pipelines forward “in the national interest.”
Trudeau has said he sees his role as a “responsible referee” on energy projects, rather than a “cheerleader.” But Mulroney said the “vital initiative” must be led by the Prime Minister himself.
“In this area, there are no substitutes for him. He strikes me as having the style, the interest and the instinct necessary to bring the premiers and the aboriginal leaders and environmentalists together and emerge with a common position that speaks to Canada’s future with optimism and hope,” he said.
Mulroney also criticized the Trudeau government’s decision to extend the regulatory review process.
“The government is actually injecting more uncertainty into the process and undermining the credibility of the regulatory institutions charged with that responsibility. There is a growing risk that, due to protracted delays, mounting opposition, escalating costs and the lack of distinct political support, essential pipeline projects may die stillborn — just like the ill-fated Mackenzie pipeline — with severe damage to a vital sector of the economy that is already reeling from depressed prices.”
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