Fort McMurray mayor will put pipeline delays on the agenda during Trudeau’s visit to the Alberta city

When Justin Trudeau arrives in Fort McMurray Friday morning, the region’s mayor will tell the prime minister that he needs to do more to get oilsands pipelines built without delay.

Trudeau will tour Suncor’s new Fort Hills oilsands facility — the newest and one of the largest oilsands projects in the region — then hold meetings with energy sector officials and Indigenous leaders. 

The Fort McMurray stop follows a Thursday visit to Victoria  and Vancouver, where he focused on clean technology and oil spill protection.

But the prime minister’s trip to the western provinces comes at a time when pipelines continue to be a divisive issue in Western Canada. 

The Liberal government approved the Enbridge Line 3 and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipelines in 2016. 

But Kinder Morgan protesters have held daily demonstrations attempting to stop work from going ahead. ​Work is underway on Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement, but the pipeline has yet to receive construction permits in Manitoba or regulatory permits in the United States.

Critics worry pipeline spills and their construction will raise greenhouse gas emissions another 200 million tonnes a year by 2030.

Mayor ‘greedy’ for Fort McMurray

Don Scott, mayor of the municipality of Wood Buffalo, said he’ll meet the prime minister Friday afternoon and he will urge Trudeau to fight harder to ensure Alberta’s pipelines are not only built, but built without substantial delays.

Scott made the comments at a Thursday press conference where the federal government announced the Wood Buffalo region would receive $17,905,869 for transit improvements.

The money comes from a pot of $3.3 billion that Ottawa announced to Alberta on Tuesday.

Mayor Don Scott looks on as Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi delivers an funding announcement in Fort McMurray on April 5, 2018. (David Thurton/ CBC)

“I’m greedy for this region and I am greedy for the future of this region,” Scott said. “The (pipeline) process has started but there’s obviously delays.”

Scott said he will ask if there’s anything the municipality can do to help. One idea, he said, might be for Fort McMurray to host a pipeline summit that brings the opposing sides together.

Trudeau unwavering on pipelines: Sohi

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, who was also on hand at the Thursday announcement, said the Liberal government has done more than any other government to get Alberta’s bitumen to tidewater.

Sohi also said both Enbridge Line 3 and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain are either under construction or receiving their last permits.

He also said Trudeau has been unwavering in his support for pipelines.

“He’s stood in front of close to 1,500 people in B.C. and strongly stated this pipeline is going to be built,” Sohi said. ” And this pipeline will be built.” 

Follow David Thurton, CBC’s Fort McMurray correspondent, on Facebook and Twitter, or email him at david.thurton@cbc.ca



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