Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reassuring Albertan’s the Trans-Mountain pipeline will move forward.
He was in Fort McMurray on Friday – taking a tour of Suncor Energy’s Fort Hills site.
His day started at the Calgary-based company’s new oilsands project, located north of Fort McMurray, where he met with employees, answered their questions before taking a tour of their base plant.
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Afterwards, Trudeau answered questions from reporters with pipelines, specifically Trans Mountain, being the main focus.
“This pipeline is in the national interest and will be built,” he added. “Canadians are united on that, everyone wants to see their grandkids with both a protective world around them and good jobs and successful communities, that’s something that we can and will work on together.”
Trudeau would also go on to say people don’t need to choose between the environment and the economy – the plan is to build the pipeline technologically sound so the economy and nature are both impacted positively.
With the relationship between Alberta and British Columbia on bad terms, Trudeau highlighted the fact that the federal government wants people to understand they’re not putting either side above the other.
“It’s a shame that there are people out there who are very much looking to polarize this debate and pit Canadians against Canadians and regions against another.”
“My job as a federal leader and our jobs as a federal government is to bring Canadians together and I know that we can all agree that protecting the environment for future generations and growing the economy is exactly where we’re all finding common ground.”
Meanwhile, Trudeau was also asked whether he would be open to holding a pipeline summit in the RMWB. On Thursday, Mayor Don Scott said he was open to the idea and was planning on discussing the idea with the Prime Minister.
Trudeau wouldn’t give a yes or no answer but did say he was open to starting the conversation with Scott.
Trudeau’s day in Fort McMurray didn’t stop at Fort Hills as he held two roundtable discussions at the Radisson.
The first was with energy representatives and the second with Indigenous leaders.
President of the McKay Métis Ron Quintal says their hope is they can start to “open some door.”
“In a lot of circumstances, you have Métis communities that are in the heart of the oilsands, who need an opportunity and means to develop a business arm, some communities have been fortunate, others haven’t.”
“We’re looking to be acknowledged, the acknowledgement of our rights, the acknowledgement that we are in this region but ultimately as an entire region, as an Indigenous region, we want to make sure all of our rights are protected, all our traditional territories are protected.”
Along with Quintal, other notable people who intended the Indigenous meeting were Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam and CEO of the McMurray Métis Bill Loutitt.