With the federal Liberals holding a caucus retreat in Saskatoon this week, federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister François-Philippe Champagne tried to reassure people concerned about the fate of the Trans Mountain pipeline project.
Speaking Tuesday on Gormley, Champagne said the project remains a priority for the federal government, as it eyes getting oil to markets outside the U.S.
“I understand and I think we understand, as Canadians, that while the U.S. will always remain our largest trading partner with 70 per cent of our exports, diversification is key.”
Pressed on why the project couldn’t get back on track faster after a recent loss in the Federal Court of Appeal, Champagne said the setback stemmed from the pipeline approval process put in place by the previous Conservative government.
“We inherited a process which was flawed in many respects. We tried to improve, but I think what the court has been saying is that we need to do a little bit better,” he said.
Asked if there was any possibility of resurrecting the scrapped Energy East project to connect Western Canadian producers with refineries in the eastern part of the country, Champagne said Trans Mountain remained the sole focus for the government when it comes to building pipelines.
“Getting it done, that’s the primary focus of the prime minister, of Minister Sowheed -the minister of natural resources- and of cabinet — to take concrete action to get this built, and it will get built,” he said.