Natural Resources Minister fires back against critics after federal funding announcement

first_imgCALGARY (660 NEWS) – Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi has responded to some of the critics of Tuesday’s massive funding announcement for the oil and gas sector in Alberta.He actually agreed with some of his critics, specifically the idea that this funding is not a long-term solution.Just spoke with the Natural Resources Minister @SohiAmarjeet. He agreed with some critics of yesterday’s announcement that this isn’t the long-term solution to Alberta’s energy woes. He says pipelines are still the answer, but something had to be done in the meantime @660NEWS— Kenny Mason (@krmason7) December 19, 2018Sohi argues that while the regulatory processes for building pipeline projects like Trans Mountain move forward, something needed to be done in the meantime.“What we’re focused on is that as we move toward building pipelines, how (can we) support industry now,” he said.He added this funding will allow companies the breathing room they need to survive in these tough times, similar to programs which were announced with the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export and Development Canada. Sohi said close to $1.5-billion was allocated in 2016, and the vast majority of that was used by businesses because they needed that support at that time. Now, he believes companies could use that support again.READ MORE: Experts weigh in on the federal investment into Alberta oil and gas “So what we announced (Tuesday) $1.6-billion will provide loans to get those businesses through these difficult times so they can make their payroll commitments,” he said. “This support is very meaningful for those businesses who need this support.”While there was no promise to get Trans Mountain started again in 2019 he says the work is being done to get it approved and built.“I am very confident that through our consultations with Indigenous peoples that we will be able to move forward on this project,” he said.Sohi retorted against some of the criticisms of the much maligned Bill C-69 saying it will actually help projects get built.“The current system is not working, you know, you can talk all about what’s wrong with Bill C-69, but I think what we need to do is fix what’s not working now,” he said.Some industry analysts asserted this bill, as it stands, would mean no pipeline project would ever be built in Canada. He does say he is open for changes to that bill.“Are there amendments to make Bill C-69 better? Absolutely we will look at those amendments, if they’re appropriate and allow us to actually achieve what we want to do, which is create certainty for businesses, and create certainty for, you know, Canadians that we will have a process in place that allows us to grow our economy, build pipelines, at the same time protect our environment, and allow Canadians to participate in the process.”last_img

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